Experimental Researches in Electricity, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 678 pages of information about Experimental Researches in Electricity, Volume 1.

1046.  The reversal, by accident or otherwise, of the plates in a battery has an exceedingly injurious effect.  It is not merely the counteraction of the current which the reversed plates can produce, but their effect also in retarding even as indifferent plates, and requiring decomposition to be effected upon their surface, in accordance with the course of the current, before the latter can pass.  They oppose the current, therefore, in the first place, as interposed platina plates would do (1011-1018.); and to this they add a force of opposition as counter-voltaic plates.  I find that, in a series of four pairs of zinc and platina plates in dilute sulphuric acid, if one pair be reversed, it very nearly neutralizes the power of the whole.

1047.  There are many other causes of reaction, retardation, and irregularity in the voltaic battery.  Amongst them is the not unusual one of precipitation of copper upon the zinc in the cells, the injurious effect of which has before been adverted to (1006.).  But their interest is not perhaps sufficient to justify any increase of the length of this paper, which is rather intended to be an investigation of the theory of the voltaic pile than a particular account of its practical application[A].

  [A] For further practical results relating to these points of the
  philosophy of the voltaic battery, see Series X. S 17.
  1163.—­1160.—­Dec. 1838.

Note.—­Many of the views and experiments in this Series of my Experimental Researches will be seen at once to be corrections and extensions of the theory of electro-chemical decomposition, given in the Fifth and Seventh Series of these Researches.  The expressions I would now alter are those which concern the independence of the evolved elements in relation to the poles or electrodes, and the reference of their evolution to powers entirely internal (524. 537. 661.).  The present paper fully shows my present views; and I would refer to paragraphs 891. 904. 910. 917. 918. 947. 963. 1007. 1031. &c., as stating what they are.  I hope this note will be considered as sufficient in the way of correction at present; for I would rather defer revising the whole theory of electro-chemical decomposition until I can obtain clearer views of the way in which the power under consideration can appear at one time as associated with particles giving them their chemical attraction, and at another as free electricity (493. 957.).—­M.F.

Royal Institution, March 31st, 1834.


S 15. On the influence by induction of an Electric Current on itself:—­and on the inductive action of Electric Currents generally.

Received December 18, 1834,—­Read January 29, 1835.

1048.  The following investigations relate to a very remarkable inductive action of electric currents, or of the different parts of the same current (74.), and indicate an immediate connexion between such inductive action and the direct transmission of electricity through conducting bodies, or even that exhibited in the form of a spark.

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