Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 128 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement No. 822, October 3, 1891.


The arrangement of the rooms in which polarizations are performed has an important bearing upon the accuracy of the results obtained.

Polariscopic observations are made more readily and accurately if the eye of the observer is screened from diffused light; therefore, a partial darkening of the room, which may be accomplished by means of curtains or hangings, is an advantage.  On the other hand, the temperature at which the observation is made has a very considerable influence upon the results obtained, so that the arrangements for darkening the room must not be such as will interfere with its proper ventilation.  Otherwise the heat from the lamps used, if confined within a small room, will cause considerable variations in the temperature of the room from time to time.

The proper conditions will best be met, in our opinion, by placing the lamps either in a separate room from that in which the instruments are, and perforating the wall or partition between the two rooms for the light to reach the end of the instruments, or in a ventilated hood with the walls perforated in a like manner.  By lining the wall or partition on both sides with asbestos paper, and inserting a plate of plane glass in the aperture through which the light passes, the increase of temperature from the radiation of the lamp will be still further avoided.  With the lamps separated from the instruments in this manner, the space in which the instruments are contained is readily darkened without much danger of its temperature being unduly raised.

Some light, of course, is necessary for reading the scales, and if artificial light is employed for this purpose, the sources chosen should be such that as little heat as possible will be generated by them.  Small incandescent electric lights are best for such purpose.  Refinements of this kind cannot always be used, of course, but the prime requisite with reference to the avoidance of temperature errors is that all operations—­filling the flasks and tubes, reading the solutions, controlling the instrument with standard quartz plates, etc.—­should be done at one and the same temperature, and that this temperature be a constant one, that is, not varying greatly at different hours of the day.  For example, the room should not be allowed to become cold at night, so that it is at low temperature in the morning when work is begun, and then rapidly heated up during the day.  The polariscope should not be exposed to the direct rays of the sun during part of the day, and should not be near artificial sources of heat, such as steam boilers, furnaces, flues, etc.

The tables upon which the instruments stand should be level.


The methods of manipulation used in the polarization of sugar are of prime importance.  They consist in weighing out the sugar, dissolving it, clarifying the solution, making it up to standard volume, filtering, filling the observation tube, regulating the illumination, and making the polariscopic reading.

Follow Us on Facebook