Anhydrous ammonia, the gas, may be reduced to the liquid form at ordinary temperatures when submitted to a pressure of about 95 pounds. During the process of liquefaction the ammonia gives up a large amount of heat, which if absorbed or radiated while the ammonia is in the liquid condition, the gas when allowed to expand will absorb from its surroundings an amount of heat equal to that radiated, producing a very great lowering of temperature. It is this principle that is utilized in refrigeration and ice making. In the absorption system, where aqua ammonia is used, the liquor is contained in a retort to which heat is applied by means of a steam coil, and a great part of the gas which was held in solution by the water is expelled, and carries with it a small amount of water or vapor. This passes into a separator in the top of a condenser, from which the water returns again to the retort, the ammonia gas, under considerable pressure, passing into the coolers. These are large receptacles in which the gas is permitted to expand. By such expansion heat is absorbed and the temperature of the surroundings is lowered. From the coolers the gas returns to the absorber, from which it is pumped, in liquid form, into the retort, to be again heated, the gas expelled and the process repeated. As the gas passes through the different processes, being heated under pressure, cooled, expanded again, more or less decomposition takes place, presumably from a combination of a small portion of the nitrogen with vegetable, animal, or mineral matter that finds its way into the system. Such decomposition, with the loss of nitrogen, leaves a small portion of free hydrogen, which is the gas that can be drawn from the top of the absorber, ignited and burned. The presence of hydrogen gas in the absorber is not necessarily detrimental to the effectiveness of the system, but as hydrogen does not possess the qualities of absorbing heat in the same way and to the same extent as ammonia, the presence of hydrogen makes the operation of the apparatus somewhat less efficient.—Stationary Engineer.
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The refrigerating apparatus illustrated and described in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN SUPPLEMENT of June 25, No. 812, is substantially that patented by Messrs. Erny, Subers & Hoos, of Philadelphia. The illustration was copied from their patents of November and February last.
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