Scientific American Supplement, No. 441, June 14, 1884. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 135 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 441, June 14, 1884..
inventor to be of the most essential service, and it would certainly appear that the arrangement is rather better adapted for small prisms than for those of considerable size.  Any means by which a beam of polarized light of large diameter—­say 3 to 31/2 inches—­could be obtained with all the convenience of a Nicol would be a real advance, for spar of sufficient size and purity for such a purpose has become so scarce and therefore so valuable that large prisms are difficult to procure at all.  So far as an analyzer is concerned, the experience of the writer of this notice would lead to the opinion that improvements are to be looked for rather in the way of the discovery of an artificial crystal which absorbs one of the polarized rays than by further modifications depending upon total reflection.  The researches of Dr. Herapath on iodosulphate of quinine (Phil.  Mag., March, 1852, 161, and November, 1853, 346) are in this direction; but crystals of the so-called herapathite require great manipulative skill for their production.  If these could be readily obtained of sufficient size, they would be invaluable as analyzers.

This opinion is supported by the existence of an inconvenience which attends every form of analyzing prism.  It is frequently, and especially in projecting apparatus, required to be placed at the focus of a system of lenses, so that the rays may cross in the interior of the prism.  This is an unfavorable position for a prismatic analyzer, and in the case of a powerful beam of light, such as that from the electric arc, the crossing of the rays within the prism is not unattended with danger to the cementing substance, and to the surfaces in contact with it.


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Finely ground zircon is quickly rendered soluble if fused with a mixture of potassium borofluoride and potassium carbonate.  The author takes two parts of the former to three of the latter, and prepares an intimate, finely divided mixture, which is kept ready for use.

Of this mixture four parts are taken to one of zircon, thoroughly mixed, and melted in a platinum crucible at a red heat.  The mass fuses readily, froths at first and gives off bubbles of gas, and flows then quietly, forming a very fluid melt.  If the zircon is finely ground, 15 minutes are sufficient for this operation.  The loss of weight is 16 per cent., and is not notably increased on prolonged fusion.  It corresponds approximately to the weight of the carbonic anhydride present in the potassium carbonate.

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Scientific American Supplement, No. 441, June 14, 1884. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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