Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 1 (1837).djvu/15

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

The method consists in observing the thermometer as in the preceding cases; that is, when the caloric rays fall upon it after having passed through the plate of glass. We thus obtain a complex measure of the effects produced by immediate transmission and by that conducting power of the layers to which we have given the name of successive propagation. If we know the value of either of these, we have that of the other. Now it is easy to determine the influence of the conducting power by repeating the experiment after having blackened with Indian ink that surface of the plate which is turned towards the calorific source. In this case, the immediate radiation being intercepted, it is clear that the elevation of the temperature at the other side must be attributed only to the conducting power of the layers. Should the elevation be now found less than it was at first, it will be a decisive proof of immediate transmission. And such was the fact in almost all the experiments of Delaroche; I say almost all, because it was found that the quantity of heat freely transmitted varied with the temperatures of the source. For temperatures lower than that of boiling water it was nothing, and when an Argand lamp[1] was employed, it was found to be more than half of the whole quantity.

No doubt can be raised as to the truth of this beautiful discovery of Delaroche; and yet the method which he has employed to measure the quantities of heat freely transmitted is by no means exact, especially in respect to high temperatures. In order to understand this seeming paradox two things are to be observed; 1st, the difference produced by change of surface between the two quantities of heat which penetrate the glass by reason of its conducting power; 2nd, the difference produced between those two quantities by the total or partial interception of the calorific rays.

It is fully proved by the experiments of Leslie and others, that glass, when blackened with Indian ink, absorbs all the rays of heat, though, in its natural state, it reflects a certain number of them. The quantity of heat which penetrates the screen will therefore be greater in the former than in the latter case. However, as polished glass reflects but a very small portion of caloric rays, the error arising from a difference in the state of the surface will be reduced to a very inconsiderable quantity and may be safely disregarded. But the case is different when we examine the error produced by the total or partial interception of the caloric radiation. In some of the experiments of Delaroche one half, at least, of the incident rays immediately passed through the screen. Thus it was evident that it was the other only which was stopped at the first surface of the glass. The effect of conduction must therefore be limited to this latter half. But as the screen, when blackened, stops the whole radiation,

  1. Journal de Physique, &c., par Delametherie, 1812.—Delaroche, Observations sur le Calorique rayonnant.