Page:Scientific Memoirs, Vol. 1 (1837).djvu/19

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sults obtained by means of the thermomultiplier[1], and a source whose radiation is much weakened by distance.

The apparatus is disposed in the following manner. A thermoelectric pile of thirty pairs is closed at one end and enveloped, at the other, in a small tube blackened inside to prevent reflection. At a certain distance there is placed a large metallic diaphragm, with an aperture at the centre equal to the section of the pile. On the other side, in the same line, there is a lighted lamp, which is brought more or less close, until the needle which serves as the index of the galvanometer, marks an elevation of 30°. The radiation is afterwards intercepted by a screen of polished metal placed between the lamp and the diaphragm, and the needle returns to zero. Then there is placed on the other side of the diaphragm a stand, with a plate of glass fixed on it, and the whole apparatus is moved gently until it is brought midway between the pile and the calorific source.

This being done, the opake screen is removed; the rays passing through the glass fall on the pile, and immediately cause the galvanometer to move. In 5s or 6s it is driven through an arc of nearly 21°·5, but it afterwards returns nearly to zero, oscillates in an arc of greater or less extent, and at last settles definitively at 21°. This last deviation decidedly marks the whole effect; for it is useless to continue the experiment for 15s or 20s. There is no longer any perceptible movement.

The time which the needle takes to attain its position of steady equilibrium is a minute and a half[2]. When the experiment is repeated

  1. For the description of this instrument see the number of the Annales de Chimie for October 1831.
  2. Although the velocity with which radiant heat is propagated is unknown, we are nevertheless pretty certain, since the experiments of Saussure and Pictet, that this agent traverses spaces of from fifty to sixty feet in a time altogether inappretiable. It might be asked, therefore, why does not our apparatus instantaneously indicate the presence and the intensity of the rays emitted by the source? To this I answer, 1st, that the index of the galvanometer deviates at the very instant when the calorific communications are established, and we have just seen that in five or six seconds it describes almost the whole arc of deviation. If a few seconds more are required to mark the entire action steadily, it is because the great conducting power of the bismuth and the antimony, and the great powers of absorption and emission belonging to their blackened surfaces, render the lapse of a certain interval necessary, in order that a balance may take place between the rays which enter the pile and those which leave it or are extinguished within its interior. But the time required for the definitive equilibrium is much greater when common thermometers are used. If, for instance, one of Rumford's most delicate thermoscopes, having the ball blackened, and a metallic cover perforated on the side towards the source of heat, be submitted to the action of calorific radiation, it will be found that the time requisite to mark the whole effect is four or five times more than that required by the thermomultiplicr. This delay is the consequence of the obstructions encountered by the conductible heat in its passage through the glass, and in its