Imatges de pàgina


petre is naturally formed, it is evident, that the efflorescence takes place only where the exterior of the wall on which it is formed is either exposed to the direct influence of the weather, or is in contact with the adjacent ground; not taking place at all in those instances in which the wall is neither exposed to the weatheron either side, nor is in contact with the adjacent ground: from which it might be argued, that the effect depends upon the action of the external air, or of the moisture of the ground transmitted through the substance of the wall: but the result of that experiment, in which the action of the air on the interior surface of the wall having been prevented by the intervention of a glass, the formation of nitre took place only to a very slight extent, is in a great measure at variance with such a supposition.

Again: though it is evident that the natural production of the saltpetre is closely connected with changes in the state of the atmosphere, those changes relating not only to its temperature but also to the degree of its moisture and barometrical pressure; yet a much longer series of observations, and these pot partial like the present, but carried on in various parts of the world, is requisite, before even this part of the problem can be accurately solved. There still would remain a part of much more difficult solution, namely, the source of the metallic base of the alkali of the nitre.

With respect to this difficult question, if we compare the elements present in the composition of the saltpetre formed, with the elements of the substances present during its formation, it seems a reasonable conclusion that the potassium, or the metallic base of the potash of the saltpetre, is either a simple principle of some of the elements present, or that it results from the union of two or more of those principles, or of two or more of the elements themselves. *

The gross compounds present during the formation of saltpetre, in the instances mentioned in this paper, are atmosphe

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* The terms “element” and “principle” are here used in the same re. lation to each other as the early physical philosophers used the terms otOXETA ågxai. They supposed that the former, though incapable of decomposition by common means, were not necessarily to be considered as absolutely simple substances: those absolutely simple substances they expressed by the term asxai.

rical air and the limestone on which the saltpetre effloresces; and all the component parts of these may be ultimately resolved into the following elements-oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and carbon, together with iron and the metallic bases of some of the earths.

The component parts of nitrate of potash, of which the saltpetre under consideration almost entirely consists, are nitric acid, water, and potash; which may be resolved into the following elements-oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and potassium: and all these elements are experimentally known to be present in the situations where saltpetre is formed, with the exception of potassium.

In the supposition then that the saltpetre is a product and not an educt of the above process, since no potash can be detected either in the air or limestone, the potassium must either be contained in a free state in the atmosphere or in the limestone, which from its remarkable attraction for oxygen is inad. missible; or it must be a component principle of some one of the elements present; or lastly, it must be itself a compound of two or more of the principles of those elements, or of two or more of the elements themselves.

But I am aware that the saltpetre may be considered as an educt of the process, and that it may possibly exist already formed in the atmosphere in a state of minute division: yet, when we consider the comparatively fixed nature of that salt, ard that no experiments have yet detected its presence in atmospherical air, or in the moisture precipitated from atmospherical air; and lastly, when we reflect on the probability that the metals, of which potassium is one, are compound bodies, the former supposition seems upon the whole preferable to the latter.

February, 1814.

An Account of some Experiments on Animal Heat.

By John Davy, M. D. F. R. S. *

[From the London Philosophical Magazine and Journal, for Dec. 1814.]

The recent inquiries of Mr. Brodie have rendered questionable the different prevailing hypotheses relative to animal heat, and have shown that fresh investigation is necessary, before we can expect to arrive at any accurate theory.

In the present uncertain state of our knowledge, three circumstances are particularly deserving of attention, viz. the relative capacities of venous and arterial blood for heat, their comparative temperatures, and the temperatures of different parts of the animal body.

On the first of these subjects we possess only the experiments of Dr. Crawford, which I believe have not yet been repeated, notwithstanding they form the basis of his hypothesis.

On the second, little inquiry has been made, and especially of late years, since the improvement of the thermometer.

And on the third, the observations that have been collected are very few in number, and, with the exception of those of Messrs. Hunter and Carlisle, are scarcely, perhaps, deserving of confidence.

Such were the inducements that led me to the consideration of each of these subjects apart, and to endeavour to acquire by experiment some more certain knowledge respecting them. The experiments that I have made will be described in the two following sections, and in the last will be offered the few remarks and conclusions which naturally arise, and are fairly deducible from the results.

1. On the Capacities of venous and arterial Blood for Heat.

I must premise, that my object has been to endeavour to ascertain the relative capacities of venous and arterial blood for heat, rather than their exact specific caloric. The latter, from many circumstances, is difficult to be accomplished; whilst the former is comparatively easy, and in a theoretical point of view is probably equally useful.


* From the Philosophical Transactions for 1814, part ii.

I have employed both the methods commonly used. I shall mention most of the experiments that I have made, without noticing the repetitions of them, and shall begin with those on the times of cooling of equal volumes of venous and arterial blood.

The blood used was from the jugular vein and the carotid artery of a lamb about four months old. It was received in bottles; and to remove the fibrin, which is a great impediment in experiments of this kind, it was immediately stirred with a wooden rod. In respect to colour, the difference between the venous and arterial blood was not so great as in the sheep's; and this in a great variety of instances I have always observed, the venous being of a less dark hue. The specific gravity of the venous blood, without the fibrin, was found to be 1050, and that of the arterial 1047.

A glass bottle equal in capacity to 2518 grains of water, and weighing 1332 grains, was filled respectively with water and venous and arterial blood of the temperature of the room 62, about four hours after the blood had been drawn, during which time each bottle had been closely corked. A delicate thermometer, by means of a perforated cork, was placed in the middle of the liquid. The bottle was then plunged into water of the temperature 140 Fahrenheit; and when the mercury had risen to 120, the bottle was quickly wiped and suspended in the middle of the room, and the progress of cooling was noticed every five minutes, till the thermometer had fallen to 80. The following were the general results obtained:

Water cooled from 120 to 80 in 91 minutes.
Arterial blood in

Venous blood in

88 Considering therefore the capacity of water for heat to be denoted by 1000, neglecting the effect of the glass bottle producing a difference only of about half a minute, and the same in each instance, and dividing the times of cooling by the specific gravity, the relative capacities of venous and arterial blood without fibrin appear to be as •921 and .934.

In the following experiments the same kind of blood and the same quantity was used as in the preceding. The mixtures were made in a very thin glass receiver containing a delicate thermometer. The temperature of the room was 66.

results very

Hot water temperature 121; cold water 61. Mixture of the two 90, after two minutes 89, after three 88, and after eight 87.

Venous blood 121. Water 62.5. Mixture 89; after three minutes 88.5; after seven 87.

Arterial blood 121. Water 63•5. Mixture 89.5; after three minutes 88.5, and after seven 87.

Now, allowing about one degree of the cooling effect to have been produced by the receiver, indicated by the admixture of the hot and cold water, calculating the quantity of blood used from the knowledge of its volume and specific gravity, employing the formula given by Professor Robison, which consists in multiplying respectively the weight of the water and the blood by the change of temperature, and dividing the first product by the second, the quotient or specific caloric for venous blood appears to be as •812, and for arterial as •814,

similar to those I have obtained with the blood of the sheep.

In the remaining experiments, blood with the fibrio present was employed, and, with this exception, they were perfectly si. milar to those already described.

The blood used to ascertain its time of cooling was obtained from a sheep; and one day the vein was opened, and on the next the artery. The capacity of the bottle employed exceeded that of the first by one ounce measure of water; but it was equally thin. The air of the room was of temperature 69.

Water cooled from 120 to 80 in 118 minutes
Venous blood in

Arterial blood in

113 And hence, as the latter was of specific gravity 1049, its capa. city for heat seems to be as •913; and as the former was of specific gravity 1051, its capacity appears to be •903.

In the following experiment, equal volumes of Auid blood and of water were used; which was easily accomplished by means of a thin bottle with a large mouth, to which a cork was adapted, with a perforation more than sufficiently large to admit the bulb of a very delicate thermometer, and of course to allow, when the bottle was filled to the brim, the excess to flow out on the introduction of the cork, which was always similarly placed. To retard the process of cooling, the bottle was closely surrounded by a thick layer of what is commonly called cottonwool. Its capacity was equal to five ounce measures of water, Vol. VI.

2 A

No. 22.

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