Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Neutron Bomb

When dephlogisticated [oxygen] and inflammable air [hydrogen], in the proportion of a little more than one measure of the former to two of the latter, both so pure as to contain no sensible quantity of phlogisticated air, are inclosed in a glass or copper vessel, and decomposed by taking an electric spark in it, a highly phlogisticated nitrous acid is instantly produced; and the purer the airs are, the stronger is the acid found to be.

The words above are taken from Joseph Priestley's Considerations on the Doctrine of Phlogiston and the Decomposition of Water. I think that when water vapour condenses that it pulls a vacuum. Is it possible that the "highly phogisticated nitrous acid" is the result of something from the vacuum? The extract below is taken from an exchange of letters between what appear to be "natural philosophers" of the 18th C, and are named as Shyam Kapila and Si Mohacek:

3rd August 1798, Paris.

If we take phlogiston to be “An imponderable fluid present in all combustible materials, be they in the solid, liquid or gaseous form” we move into another sphere of difficulty: it seems, again, to me that this concept is one of fantasy: how entirely convenient is it that all the facts now fit under the doctrine of phlogiston, but there is one problem: where is this ‘phlogiston’ and what does it look like? For all we know, a vacuum is an imponderable fluid. Is phlogiston the same, and where is the vital difference if there is one? This concept is too complicated, and perhaps too fantastical, to comprehend completely.

Yours faithfully,
Shyam Kapila.

I'm sorry to say that I'm not entirely sure who Shyam Kapila is, but he raises some very interesting points in his letter about phlogiston and its relationship to the aether. From what I understand so far, I think the substance which was once referred to as "phlogiston", is the same thing which we call carbon. A pure vacuum is the unadulterated electric fluid of the aether. If we pair these ideas by Priestley and Kapila about phlogiston and the imponderable fluid - will it be possible to conclude what the relationship is between the aether and carbon?

To get to grips with electricity, and in trying to understand its very nature, pioneering scientists had to get electricity out in the open - so they started to poke it with a stick. They did not want to give electricity anything to hide behind -no material substance, no gas, nothing - so they set about designing experiments where we would get to see electricity exposed and naked. Some thought that the best way to do this was to observe electricity in a vacuum.

Metal plates inside a glass tube were connected by wires to a powerful source of electricity, and the air was pumped out. Faraday was able to observe that as the amount of air in the tube decreased, a faint glow between the electrodes could be seen. Conducting the experiment he noticed a strange light arc with its beginning at anode (the positive electrode) and its end almost at cathode (the negative electrode).

The only place where there was no luminescence was just in front the cathode. It is called "cathode dark space", "Faraday dark space" or "Crookes dark space". Continued reduction in pressure causes the dark space to expand, and the color at the electrodes to fade until the tube is dark, except for a faint green or violet glow around the anode. The sides of the tube fluoresce (usually green).

In 1895 Wihelm Roentgen was experimenting with a cathode ray tube. He covered the glowing tube with black card, and dimmed the lights in the room. Roentgen found that some invisible rays were being thrown by the tube across the room, and were able to make certain minerals fluoresce in the same way that UV light did. He called these mysterious rays X-rays.

I found a New York Times story on the discovery of X-rays by Rontgen. It is dated February 5, 1896. I was struck, once again, that it appears to have been common knowledge that X-rays are produced, not at the electrodes, but "from the cathode rays at the glass surface of the tube". The story also states that"it is known that Lenard, in his investigations on cathode rays, has shown that they belong to the ether, and can pass through all bodies."

Cathode rays can be deviated by a magnet, while an X-ray cannot. Light, or any form of EMR for that matter, cannot be bent by magnets. In the past, I've imagined a bar magnet as disturbing the very substance of the aether. A magnetic field is thus evidence of the stress that a bar magnet is generating in the fluid of the aether. Maybe I've got this wrong, but if EMR is propagating in the medium of the aether, then surely by disturbing the medium we should see a change in the waves which propagate through it?

I think glass acts as a step-down transformer of light. I think it can convert high energy UV into low energy UV, and infrared wavelengths. Now I'm thinking, what if the glass on a cathode ray tube is acting as a step-down transformer that converts high energy cathode rays into an X-ray of lower energy.

Some consider cathode rays to be of weaker substance than X-rays because they appear to be absorbed in the air. Cathode rays can't so much as even pass through the glass of the tube in which they are made. X-rays on the other hand are well known for being able to make their way across a room while passing through obstacles such as flesh, wood and brick.

In order for cathode rays to be examined outside the tube, a thin metal window had to be set in the tube through which the rays could leave. In the air, the cathode rays could make a distance of about 1 cm. For early experimenters this was important because it proved that cathode rays were not a phenomenon exclusive to a vacuum.

I've found this article on cathode rays in Time magazine, and its dated from November 01, 1926. It's reporting on a demonstration made by Dr. William David Coolidge, assistant research director of the General Electric Co. The demonstration was called: "A Method of Producing High Voltage Cathode Rays Outside the Generating Tube." On the platform Dr.Coolidge reveals the Coolidge Tube:

Dr. Coolidge brought out upon the platform an astonishing tangle of insulators, wires, supports, switches, a huge induction coil—equipment for supplying 350,000 volts. In his hand he held, a glass vessel, five feet long, bulging in the middle.

350,000 volts in a five foot tube - what a beauty! This is the 1920s and this beast is going to be pretty impressive right?

When Dr. Coolidge ordered his 350,000-volt current turned on, a prodigious stream of electrons leapt from the hot cathode, moving perhaps two miles per second. Rebounding from the metal cup about the cathode, they raced off down the 12-inch exit passage of the tube until, when they reached the "window," they were going some 150,000 m.p.s. (four-fifths the speed of light). Their volume was virtually undiminished as they shot through the thin nickel foil and out into heavy, molecular air, where their effects were at once visible and startling.

Instantly, X-rays were set up in the local ether. As the dislocated electrons struggled back to their original positions they made another kind of vibration, weaker than X-rays and visible as bright luminosities. Thus, as soon as the 350,000 volts were switched on, a purple ball appeared at and enveloped the "window" end of the tube, caused by the vibrations of electrons in molecules of the air hustling back into position.

Fruit flies and other insects withered under a fraction of a second's exposure, soon died. A rubber-plant leaf oozed white latex from millions of tiny punctures at one short dose of the ray.

Now at this stage I have images of Coolidge running around the demo zapping any thing that he could lay his hands on. A fly in the air ... zap. The rubber-plant minding its own business in the corner ... zap. Somebody shouts,"Oi Coolidge, that was my plant!" Somebody else screams. But it was too late, there was that glint in his eye, and Coolidge's plot for world domination was in full swing. Coolidge threw back his head and gave forth a laugh which peeled throughout the hall "bwwaaargh ....". His laughter was cut short though when he realised that he could only conquer the world if it came within a few feet.

Of one thing he could be certain: the Cathode Ray would never be a war weapon unless whole armies were "marched right into it," for once outside their vacuum birthplace, the hurtling electrons all hit something soon and got slowed up; within a space of three feet when 350,000 volts were used; within five feet (calculated) if two million volts were used.

Since cathode rays are identical in nature with the beta rays of radium, computations were made showing that Dr. Coolidge had invented the equivalent of a ton of radium (2,000 times the world's present supply), worth a hundred billion dollars.,9171,722667-3,00.html

The discovery of radium is credited to Marie Curie and her husband Pierre, who discovered radium and polonium while researching uranium in Curie's native Poland in the 1880s. By 1911, Curie had successfully isolated the element, after receiving the Nobel Prize in 1903 for her work; she received another in 1911 for her isolation of radium.

Wilhelm Ostwald, the highly respected German chemist, who was one of the first to realize the importance of the Curies' research, traveled from Berlin to Paris to see how they worked. Neither Pierre nor Marie was at home. He wrote: "At my earnest request, I was shown the laboratory where radium had been discovered shortly before.... It was a cross between a stable and a potato shed, and if I had not seen the worktable and items of chemical apparatus, I would have thought that I was been played a practical joke."

There was plenty of evidence of the radiations of radium, but not so much of the substance itself. The Curie's had to whittle down very large quantities of uranium ore to produce only tiny amounts of radium. It was here in the "potato shed" that the grittily determined Curie's spent four years, thousands of laborious crystallizations, to finally succeed in isolating a tenth of a gram of pure radium. Eventually they worked down eight tons of uranium ore to produce one gram of radium, which made it the rarest and most expensive substance in the world.

Radium gives out three kinds of rays, the Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays. Beta 'rays' are actually electrons ejected from the radium, in much the same way electrons are ejected by the cathode in a cathode ray tube. Basically, Beta rays are the same thing as cathode rays; they carry the same negative charge and are bent by a magnetic field. Beta rays proper differ from the cathode rays only by their higher velocity.

Gamma rays have no charge at all and behave like light and other EMR waves. In the past, X-rays produced by machines were of lower energy than Gamma rays but with the development of linear accelerators and other high energy machines, this distinction is no longer useful. Some early investigators such as Cleaves (1904) had referred to Gamma rays as "radium rontgen rays". Gamma rays are basically X-rays. An 80 keV X-ray is identical and hence indistinguishable from an 80 keV Gamma ray.

Radium is radiating the exact same rays that we find in a cathode ray tube. In the cathode ray tube we have to pump out the air, and apply a high voltage in order to see these rays. Radium on the other hand produces them naturally. It appears that radium is able to access the potential energy of the aether in a truly remarkable way. Is the radium acting as a step-down transformer?

I think that X-rays are a product of high energy UV striking matter, and in the case of the cathode ray tube, this happens to be glass. Therefore, I think that cathode rays have more to offer in terms of a window into the realms of the aether. Perhaps cathode rays are some manner of high energy UV, and I think that this is heavily related to the electric fluid of the aether.

If an uncharged metal surface is illuminated with UV light it becomes positively charged, and emits negative electricity in a process known as the photoelectric effect. In 1900, Lenard studied this phenomenon and concluded that the charged particles emitted by the plate were the same as those found in cathode rays - electrons. Is the metal transforming light into electricity? Is the metal inducing the electric fluid of the aether to flow between its atoms?

Alpha rays are the third type of radiation produced by radium, they have a positive charge and are bent the opposite way to Beta rays. Alpha rays are supposed to have a mass something like 7000 times more than the electrons which make up Beta rays. An Alpha ray is an atom of helium. Helium has an atomic weight of 4 - so I was wondering whatever happened to hydrogen with its' atomic weight of 1? I mean, you'd expect hydrogen atoms to emerge as the lowest common denominator wouldn't you? I wonder why is it helium? Alpha rays, or at least something very similar to Alpha rays, are also found in a cathode ray tube.

In 1898 German physicist Wilheim Wien determines that the so-called "canal rays" discovered by his compatriot Eugene Goldstein in 1886, are the positively charged equivalent of cathode rays. An Alpha ray has a mass 7000 times that of an electron, while the lightest of the canal rays has a mass 1800 times greater than that of the electron. A canal ray, or proton as we know it today, is understood to be a gaseous ion, the lightest of the canal rays being a hydrogen ion.

Canal rays move in the opposite direction to cathode rays inside a cathode ray tube. Goldstein discovered canal rays after an experiment in which he made holes in the cathode and observed glowing yellow streamers coming from the holes. Supposedly, the name canal rays arises from these holes, or canals, that have been bored in the anode. But what if the name is actually a clue?

Do you remember the story of John Scott Russell and his first encounter with the "wave of translation"? Russell observed a wave which was formed by a barge in the waters of a canal. He describes the 30 foot long wave as it "rolled forward with great velocity, assuming the form of a large solitary elevation, a rounded, smooth and well-defined heap of water, which continued its course along the channel apparently without change of form or diminution of speed." Russell even goes as far as chasing the wave for one or two miles on horseback.

The wave of translation is better known today as a soliton. Solitons are stable localized waves that propagate through a medium without spreading. A soliton therefore is a longitudinal wave. Was someone trying to remind us of Russell's wave of translation when they named the positive charged particles canal rays?

Cathode rays are more deviable than canal rays, in that they are more easily swayed by a magnetic or electric field. The amount by which the cathode ray particle is deflected in a magnetic field of given strength is determined by its mass and by the size of its electric charge. It was J.J. Thomson who in 1897 who first set about observing how much particles are affected by electric and magnetic fields to measure the ratio of the mass to the electric charge. The thinking is that the more charged a particle is the more it will deflect, but at the same time, the more massive a particle is, the less it will deflect. Deflection experiments could only determine the ratio e/m but not e or m seperately.

It was found that all electrons had the same mass, but the canal ray particles came in different masses, depending on what gases were present in the evacuated tube. Thomson found that the mass to charge ratio for an electron, or "corpuscle" as he preferred to call it, was 1800 times lower than that of a hydrogen ion, suggesting either that the electron was either very light or very highly charged.

Rather than declare an electron as having an electric charge which was 1800 times greater than that of a hydrogen atom, Thomson settled on the mass of the hydrogen atom being 1800 times larger than the mass of the electron. I wonder what would have happened though if Thomson had chosen a large electric charge over a very small mass for the electron? The electron, and a hydrogen ion would be the same size, but the electron would be left packing a hefty electrical punch. Where does the Alpha ray which is produced by radium fit inside this new picture?

It was Ernest Rutherford who named the radiations emitted by radium as Alpha, Beta and Gamma in 1909. By measuring the charge and mass of Alpha particles he found that the ratio was the same as the nuclei of ordinary helium atoms. That is, a completely ionized helium atom missing both electrons. According to Rutherford, the two protons in the nucleus of the helium ion thus give the Alpha particle a double positive charge. There was some deliberation though if the Alpha particle was indeed a helium ion, or an unknown particle, or if it was actually two hydrogen ions. The following extracts highlight Rutherford's thought processes, and subsequent experiments, before he came to his decision about what the Alpha particle might be; they are taken from his Nobel Lecture of December 11, 1908:

The velocity of expulsion of the a-particles from different kinds of active matter varied over comparatively narrow limits but the value of e/m was constant and equal to 5,070. This value was not very different from the one originally found. A difficulty at once arose in interpreting this result. We have seen that the value of e/m for the hydrogen atom is 9,650. If the a-particle carried the same positive charge as the hydrogen atom, the value of e/m for the a-particle would indicate that its mass was twice that of the hydrogen atom, i.e. equal to the mass of a hydrogen molecule. It seemed very improbable that hydrogen should be ejected in a molecular and not an atomic state as a result of the atomic explosion. If, however, the a-particle carried a charge equal to twice that of the hydrogen atom, the mass of the a-particle would work out at nearly four, i.e. a mass nearly equal to that of the atom of helium.

It was found that each a-particle carried a positive charge of 9.3 x 10-10 electrostatic units. From a consideration of the experimental evidence of the charge carried by the ions in gases, it was concluded that the a-particle did carry two unit charges, and that the unit charge carried by the hydrogen atom was equal to 4.65 x 10-10 units. From a comparison of the known value of e/m for the a-particle with that of the hydrogen atom, it follows that an a-particle is a projected atom of helium carrying two charges, or, to express it in another way, the a-particle, after its charge is neutralized, is a helium atom.

Thus if the Alpha particle had the same charge as the hydrogen ion, its mass would have to be twice that of the hydrogen ion. However, if the Alpha particle were doubly charged, its mass would be four times as large, and would correspond to that of the helium atom. I think this e/m ratio manages to make everything pretty confusing because we are not given a solid value for electric charge or mass. I think the whole thing makes a good conundrum.

The modern picture of a helium atom is that it is made up of two electrons, two protons, and two neutrons. Because each proton and each neutron has more than 1800 times the mass of an electron, nearly all the mass of the helium atom is accounted for by the nucleus. The theory goes then that if you take away the two electrons, you are still left with two protons, and two neutrons which make up the mass. The mass of a helium ion remains some 7000 times larger than an electron.

Rutherford designed experiments to try to prove exactly what it was that Alpha particles were made of. The last and most convincing of these experiments was made in 1909, with T.D Royds, by constructing what James Jeans later called "a sort of mousetrap for Alpha particles". Over a week, Alpha particles emitted by radon were collected in a glass tube, compressed, and then an electric current passed through it. A spectral analysis of the electric discharge revealed the gas to be helium.

Rutherford was thus convinced that the Alpha particle was helium. The helium ions released by the radon had picked up some electrons to thus form helium atoms. I wonder though, could we still venture to play with the idea that an Alpha particle is made up of two hydrogen ions, and that it gains two electrons inside the "mousetrap", but that each of these electrons are the same size as the ions. Basically, a structure of two protons plus two electrons would give us a helium atom. In this new picture the protons and the electrons each have the same value of mass, so it would give us a total atomic mass of 4.

At this stage, I would like to add that the proton and the electron are very suggestive of dipolar vortices. In previous posts I've discussed atoms as possibly having a torus, or ring-donut shape. Could a proton and an electron make up the dipolar vortices of an atomic toroidal structure? An easy sort of comparison to make is that they might look something like a cyclone and anticyclone pairing - as found in weather systems. A helium atom implies that it is made up of two ring-donuts. I wonder how these two interact with one another? Wouldn't it be fun to suggest that they might move through one another like the links on a garden chain fence?

You may have noticed that the neutron is left flailing from this new picture. Where has the neutron gone? The neutron is electrically neutral, meaning it has no electrical charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of the proton. It is an atomic particle in which the proton and electron are combined. The neutron was introduced to the atomic model to help explain a bunch of extra mass which was found inside the atom.

The new model gives the electron a mass that it previously never had. I should imagine that this newfound mass has to come from somewhere, and that it has been taken from the neutron (but hey - the electron is only stealing it back!) This leaves the neutron with no electric charge, and virtually no mass. I think a neutron with only a tiny mass could be describing the electroneutrality of the energy between the positive and negative charges. Is it possible that the neutron is actually describing something of the aether itself? It certainly appears that Tesla seemed to think so. On July 10, 1932, Nikola Tesla made this statement:

I have harnessed the cosmic rays and caused them to operate a motive device. Cosmic ray investigation is a subject that is very close to me. I was the first to discover these rays and I naturally feel toward them as I would toward my own flesh and blood. I have advanced a theory of the cosmic rays and at every step of my investigations I have found it completely justified. The attractive features of the cosmic rays is their constancy. They shower down on us throughout the whole 24 hours, and if a plant is developed to use their power it will not require devices for storing energy as would be necessary with devices using wind, tide or sunlight. All of my investigations seem to point to the conclusion that they are small particles, each carrying so small a charge that we are justified in calling them neutrons. They move with great velocity, exceeding that of light.

More than 25 years ago I began my efforts to harness the cosmic rays and I can now state that I have succeeded in operating a motive device by means of them. I will tell you in the most general way, the cosmic ray ionizes the air, setting free many charged ions and electrons. These charges are captured in a condenser which is made to discharge through the circuit of the motor. I have hopes of building my motor on a large scale, but circumstances have not been favorable to carrying out my plan.

WOw. This is exciting, right? I feel like a whole host of elements are finally coming together. The phlogiston theory which Priestley so richly defended is revealed as essentially being a theory based on carbon. In the decomposition of water in a vacuum, a carbon saturated nitrous acid is produced. It might appear then that carbon bears some relation to the "imponderable fluid" that is believed to make up the substance of a vacuum, and ultimately the very substance of the Universe.

In re-designing the atom as a ring-donut, the neutron emerges as a tiny, tiny particle compared to that of the proton and electron. If the electric fluid of the aether was made up with tiny particles, then maybe it's possible that these particles have something to do with carbon. The icing on the cake comes with Tesla's understanding of the neutron as being very small and carrying a charge which is barely perceptible, but moving with a velocity greater than light. If the neutron does moves faster than light, then surely it must have something to do with longitudinal waves in the aether?

Many thanks:
Theoretical principles of inorganic chemistry By G.S. Manku
The Structure and Properties of Matter By Herman T. Briscoe The Foundations of Chemical Theory By R. M. Caven

The Disinfection Of The Atmosphere

I found this great little article. It comes from the "Scientific American Supplement", and is entitled "The Disinfection Of The Atmosphere". It drops some very helpful insights. Not least because it refers to the air as a vapour, whereas today we tend to think of the air as being something more like a gas. In the article they are running experiments where carbolic acid (carbon dioxide) is boiled with water and the vapour is used as a disinfectant in the air.

I can show why a fire from which there is much smoke is better than one which burns with a clear flame, by a simple experiment. Here is a piece of gum benzoin, the substance from which Friar's balsam is made. This will burn, if we light it, just as tar burns, and without much smoke or smell. If, instead of burning it, we put some on a spoon and heat it gently, much more smoke is produced, and a fragrant scent is given off. In the same way we can burn spirit of lavender or eau de Cologne, but we get no scent from them in this way, for the burning destroys the scent. This is a very important fact in the disinfection of the air. The less the flame and the larger the quantity of smoke, the greater the effect produced, so far as disinfection is concerned. As air is a vapor, we must use our disinfectants in the form of vapor, so that the one may mix with the other, just as when we are dealing with fluids we must use a fluid disinfectant.

The question that presents itself is this: Can we so diffuse the vapor of an antiseptic like carbolic acid through the air as to destroy the germs which are floating in it, and thus purify it, making it like air which has been filtered through wool, or like that on the top of a lofty mountain? If the smoke of a wood fire seems to act as an antiseptic, and putrefaction is prevented, it seems reasonable to conclude that air could be purified and made antiseptic by some proper and convenient arrangement.

I have here a boiler of copper into which we can put a mixture, and can get from it a small jet of steam for some hours. A simple experiment will show that no bacteria will exist in that vapor. If I take a test tube containing meat, and boil it while holding the mouth of it in this vapor, after it has cooled we close the mouth with cotton wool, and set it aside in a warm place; after some days we shall find no trace of decomposition, but if the experiment is repeated with water, decomposition will soon show itself. Of course, any strength of carbolic acid can be used at will, and will afford a series of tests.

They've also made mention of gum benzoin. An acidic material was derived from benzoin by sublimation, and named "flowers of benzoin," or benzoic acid. The hydrocarbon derived from benzoic acid thus acquired the name benzin, benzol, or benzene. Trace amounts of benzene may result whenever carbon-rich materials undergo incomplete combustion. It is produced in volcanoes and forest fires, and is also a component of cigarette smoke. Benzene is a principal component of combustion products produced by the burning of PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

In 1865, the German chemist Friedrich August Kekulé was the first to suggest a ring structure for the benzene molecule. It is best explained as a ring of six carbon atoms, and on the outside of the ring one hydrogen atom is then attached to each carbon atom. In 1890 the German Chemical Society organized an elaborate appreciation in Kekulé's honor, celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of his first benzene paper. He revealed that the benzene ring had been inspired by a dream in which he saw a snake eating its own tail - the Ouroboros.

The Ouroboros is represented by many ancient civilisations all over the world. It is said to represent many things. I once felt that it represented human suffering, in that we consume the problems we create and create the problems we consume, in a cycle that becomes endless and never-ending. For me now though, the Ouroboros has come more to represent the Universe and ultimately God.

The famous Ouroboros drawing from the early alchemical text The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra dating to 2nd century Alexandria encloses the words hen to pan, "one is the all". It's saying that everything is God. I'll show you some of my working out - if one is the all, then everything is One - one consciousness - one God - God is one consciousness - everything is consciousness - consciousness is Universe - Universe is God - God is love - love is consciousness - everything is love - love is God.

I just thought it a happy little coincidence that carbon sits at the centre of the benzene ring, and also stands at the horizon in this new understanding of the Universe, and dare I say it without sounding too presumptious, but this new understanding of God.

Many thanks:

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Rocking Chair Physics

Most of our planet's weather occurs in the troposphere. This image shows a view of this layer from an airplane's window (Photo © 2004 Edward Tsang).

I think light leaves the Sun at a very, very low frequency. I have wondered if the white light we have on the planet is also of a very, very low frequency and that this is why we cannot find a frequency for white light. I have wondered if white light has something to do with the longer wavelengths that we normally attribute to heat. After looking at the mechanism which takes place in a candle flame, I am gradually building up more and more reservations about this idea. I don't think white light has a very, very low frequency at all - in-fact, I think it could be the complete opposite.

The bright yellow part of the flame looks like it is being supported by the blue part of the flame which appears a bit like a cup. The bottom of a candle flame starts out as high frequency UV, and then as we work our way up through the flame, the frequencies step further and further down into the infrared. The flame, it could be said, is acting a little bit like a step-down transformer!

I think that light travels from the Sun to the Earth at a very, very low frequency, but then smashes into the atmosphere like an accordion being thrown across the room. The long, long wavelengths of these very, very low frequencies are squashed, and then transformed into very high frequencies - radioactive frequencies! The upper atmosphere then acts as a step-down transformer, so that these radioactive frequencies are less hazardous to our health, and much better able to substain life. I'm thinking frequencies more in the UV range. I'm thinking this has something to do with why the sky is blue.

I suspect then that white light is indeed UV. White light is pretty much invisible to us until it touches an object. An object acts as another step down transformer, and converts the UV rays into the parts of the spectrum which we know as visible light, and heat.

We are taught that UV rays come from the Sun - but I think they are made here on Earth. UV light ranges from around 400 nm to the extreme end at 10 nm. We are taught that the upper realms of the atmosphere absorb the extreme UV energy and X-rays - but I think they are made there. The lower half of the atmosphere - the stratosphere - supports the ozone layer. It is said that the ozone layer absorbs the high energy UVC rays, but allows the UVB and UVA rays to pass through. Again, I'm unsure about this picture. I think the ozone layer is responsible for stepping down the UVC rays (around 280-100 nm in length) - to the less energetic medium-wave UVB rays (320-286 nm).

Image courtesy of Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.

My kitchen has two doubled glazed doors which lead onto the back patio. My garden faces East, so in the morning we have the Sun at the back of the house. Sometimes I have one door open, while the other remains closed. The sunlight which pours unhindered into my kitchen is decidedly brighter than the light which passes through the glass. The light which passes through the glass is definitely a shade darker. The unadulterated sunlight burns my naked leg (don't worry neighbours I've got my underpants on!). If I move to being behind the glass, the sunlight no longer feels like it is burning my skin.

I wonder if the glass is intercepting the high energy UV light and knocking it down to a low energy UV light. Is the glass acting as a step-down transformer? We are taught that common window glass blocks the more intense UVB rays, but is transparent to the longer UVA wavelengths (400-320nm). But what if the glass is converting UVB rays into UVA frequencies? If I put my hand on the glass, I also notice that the surface is warm to the touch.

Objects heated by sunlight emit infrared radiation. The surface of the earth emits infrared radiation even at night - it's not as warm as during the day, but it's present nonetheless. At night, if I go outside without so much as a torch, or moonlight, I will see bugger all. All objects above the absolute zero temperature (0 K) emit infrared radiation. In sunlight, I think an object transforms UV energy into visible light and infrared.

At night, we basically don't see the visible light of the spectrum because it's naturally dark. There is an absence of solar UV radiation at night. An object still emits infrared energy at night though. An object is still converting energy into infrared radiation. Where is the object drawing this energy from? If an object is giving off heat - is that because the object is involved in a combustion process?

Some minerals fluoresce under UV radiation. Fluorescence occurs only while the material is being activated by UV light. The word "fluorescent" comes from "fluorite", the name of a mineral in which this quality was first noted. All matter fluoresces to some extent although it is not always noticeable. No ordinary matter fluoresces strongly enough to exhibit this quality while in sunlight. Most substances when fluorescing produce very little heat. For this reason fluorescence has commonly been referred to as "cold light". Human skin and the lens of the eye are faintly fluorescent.

I'm now sat on a chair on my patio. It's around noon. The Sun is shining directly overhead, and it's warm, but not humid. The warmth on my body feels almost fresh. I'm staring at the play of shadows on the patio floor. As the sunlight falls through the leaves and branches of the apple tree it creates these dancing, tingling shapes. It is a play between the bright light which splashes onto the patio floor, and the shadows which harness the darker shades.

With a camera, a longer exposure generates a brighter light. Basically, as more light reaches the photographic film it generates a brighter, and brighter picture. I wonder if the eye is doing something similar. I wonder if the bright light I see is due to high energy UV hitting my eye, and if the shadows are created by the lesser impact of low energy UV. Is this happening because the high energy and low energy wavelengths both travel - from patio floor to eyeball - at different speeds? The bigger impact of the faster moving high energy UV on photosensitive cells in my eye could generate what I percieve as a brighter light. Or it could be that all light moves at the same speed, but that the high energy UV carries a bigger whallop.

The speed of light in air is almost the same as it is in a vacuum. I think that which we term as the speed of light, is actually a volumetric flow rate - a constant pressure which is being applied by the fluid of the aether. Basically, a vacuum is the fluid of the aether. I think that electromagnetic radiation travels as waves in the medium of the aether.

Do all forms of EMR travel at the same speed - the same flow-rate? This would mean that the Sun could produce extreme UV, and that this energy could travel to Earth at the same speed as low, low frequency wavelengths. For this reason, I don't think that light travels from the Sun through space in low, low frequency wavelengths - simply because it does not need to.

This opens a new line of thinking for me. Low frequency wavelengths become a property of matter. Matter transforms the higher energy radiation into lower energies. These lower energies are more recognisable to us as heat. The high frequency wavelengths need to be generated by a power source. The Sun being the most obvious power source.

I don't think the Sun sends gamma rays or X-rays to our planet. I think these forms of radiation are a property of matter. I think they are generated by the impact of high frequency energy on atomic matter. Gamma rays and X-rays are atomic matter which have been disturbed in some way.

On the electromagnetic spectrum, UV light takes up the space between visible light and X-rays, around 400 - 10 nm. Is 10 nm truly the smallest wavelength of UV light - and if it is - why? UV light below 200 nm is known as vacuum UV radiation basically because it has to be generated in a vacuum. In air, due to the water vapour in air, it will not transmit wavelengths below 190 nm.

The EMR spectrum is considered to blend from UV light into X-rays around the 10 nm mark. But what if this 10 nm boundary is where high energy UV is pulling the very fabric of matter apart? This is by no means a new idea. The following is an extract from the article - "The Discovery And Research of X-rays":

In 1912 Arnold Somerfeld and Koch used a more technically advanced equipment to confirm empirically the results obtained by Haga and Wind - and theoretically by Wien and Stark - concerning the wavelength of X rays. However, not all scientists agreed with the idea that X-rays were waves.

It was discovered that during their absorption certain molecules - similar to beta molecules - were created. William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) and J.P.V. Marsden discovered that those molecules moved in the same direction as originally was the beam of X rays. Moreover their energy is approximately equal to the energy of cathode rays which brought about X rays. They argued that the energy of those molecules was not related to the distance covered by X rays from the source to the place where the molecules emerge. Therefore there is no noticeable energy loss. On the other hand, as Bragg argued, as the distance from the source increases a wave becomes more and more dispersed.

According to the experiments, X rays maintained their properties (energy) many meters from the source and therefore, those two researchers claimed, they were molecules. So on the one hand X rays behaved like regular waves, but on the other hand they behaved like molecules. Those two views as different models survived till 1920ties when they became reconciled by quantum mechanics.

Wouldn't it be interesting to get under the skin of those UV wavelengths of 10 nm? Imagine the energy potential of UV light at 1 nm or less. This is probably just some ramble from my rocking chair, but imagine if it was possible to generate UV light in a perfect vacuum. Would we draw nearer to the very substance of the aether? Where would you get a perfect vacuum? I think it might be possible when we condense water vapour and pull a vacuum.

Aren't those photos from the atmosphere just amazing, or what?

Many thanks:
The Color of Life By Arthur G. Abbott

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

High Falutin' Convolutin' Phlogiston

--Yosemite Sam picture courtesy of Warner Brothers

Before the caloric theory of combustion emerged in the 18th Century, there was the phlogiston theory. The theory was popularised by Johann Joachim Becher when he published the treatise "Physical Education" in 1667. Becher proposed that flammable objects contained a substance which he called phlogiston. An object without phlogiston does not burn. Metals and fire were considered to be rich in phlogiston, while the earth was considered to be poor. "Phlogisticated" substances are those that contain phlogiston and are "dephlogisticated" when burned.

I have unearthed a letter written by Walter Fitzroy regarding some of his thoughts about the phlogiston theory. It appears to be dated from around the time lines were being drawn by those caught between the prevailing caloric and phlogiston theories:

Phlogiston is present in all things that are combustible, and we are thankful that everything that contains phlogiston is not constantly in flames, and that it requires a release mechanism. I theorise that heat and fire are indeed release mechanisms for phlogiston and that it encourages phlogiston in the material to be released.

Similarly, heat is required to release the phlogiston from inflammable air to the calx during calcination. One must assume that the intense heat required for these processes is because phlogiston, by nature, is a very stubborn substance that is deeply imbedded in the substance it is stored in be it a metal or inflammable air.

As for why extra heat appears to be needed for returning calx to a metal then the reverse, a possible explanation is that to liberate phlogiston from air maybe more difficult than liberating it from the metal. It is very likely that the metal contains a higher concentration of phlogiston than the air that surrounds it.

Therefore, the release of phlogiston from metal is easier because there is a higher concentration, whilst in air the lesser concentration of phlogiston means that it requires more heat.

A blatant contradiction to the phlogiston theory though was the fact that a burning candle, supposedly rich in phlogiston, is extinguished when it is placed inside a glass shade. Critics pointed out that if the candle was burning phlogiston then the flame should not go out. Antiphlogistonists argued that this simple experiment proves the candle flame is using the air inside the glass for combustion - the glass has excluded the flame from the air outside. However, the phlogistonists countered that it is not so much the air that has been excluded, but that there is nowhere for the used phlogiston to go.

There being no escape for the phlogiston is the part of the theory which interests me. I have wondered aloud if the nitrogen gas which we find inside the glass after the combustion, was truly there before the combustion. The idea that the air is 79% nitrogen is pretty much based on these experiments of combustion. Is it possible that something happens to the burning phlogiston which remains inside the glass and thus transforms it into nitrogen? If a candle, or any other fuel for that matter, possesses phlogiston - then at least we can whittle the culprit down as far as something to do with hydrocarbons.

When a hydrocarbon burns in oxygen, the reaction will only yield carbon dioxide and water. When a hydrocarbon or any fuel burns in air, the combustion products will also include nitrogen.

The phlogiston theory was eventually dismissed though. In 1774 the French chemist Lavoisier stepped forward with oxygen - and the process of oxidisation - to explain combustion. Lavoisier emerged in a time where it was becoming more popular, and indeed more necessary, for experimenters to quantify the weight of every substance used throughout an experiment. Efforts were being made to reduce substances to their atomic components. Instruments used to measure experiments became incredibly precise, and notoriously expensive.

Instruments belonged only to the institutions which could afford them. Lavoisier was fortunate enough to act as a privatised tax collector (though an unfortunate career choice perhaps in light of the French Revolution and an appointment with Madamoiselle Guillotine) which provided plenty of money to satisfy the high costs of these instruments. Lavoisier was able to keep pushing the boundaries of these specialised measurements even further. Lavoisier possessed a balance so accurate it could measure 1 part in 400,000.

A substance was weighed, and then burned, and painstaking efforts were made to measure the weight of the ashes and gases produced. The results of these measurements were then compared. Phlogiston theory dictated that a substance should weigh less with the supposed loss of phlogiston. Examples though, such as sulphur and phosphorus, started to emerge in which substances weighed more AFTER they had burned.

The French physician Jean Rey, and the English philosopher Robert Boyle, among others, were also aware that metals, when they changed into earthy powders on heating, gained weight. When iron rusts away completely, the rust actually weighs more than the original iron. When charcoal burns, the resultant carbon dioxide (fixed air) weighs more than the original charcoal. So, in every case, phlogiston would have to have a negative weight. In an age where everything had to be quantified, a substance that weighed less than nothing simply would not do. The phlogiston theory was dropped like a hot coal.

It was nonsense, observed Lavoisier, "that one augments the weight of a body by taking part of its substance away from it." This led Lavoisier to the conclusion that during combustion something had been taken from the air and added to the substance; namely oxygen.

Oxygen gas had previously been discovered by Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) on 1 August 1774 in the laboratory at Bowood House. There is perhaps a little irony that the greatest advocate of the phlogiston theory was also the one who discovered the element which would ultimately lead to the theory's demise. (Though, to be fair, the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele may have discovered oxygen before Priestley but did not publish his results in time). Priestly at first gave the gas the catchy title of "dephlogisticated air".

My biggest problem with the phlogiston theory is not so much that it is an invisible substance with a negative mass, but that I struggle trying to keep up with all the convoluted names given to the different elements, and compounds involved. For example we have "fixed air" for carbon dioxide, and "inflammable air" for hydrogen, and "dephlogisticated air" for oxygen. What on earth does "dephlogisticated" mean? Well, that would be the opposite of "phlogisticated", and this is where I think it gets really interesting.

Please let me draw your attention to a paper written by Priestley in 1796, "Considerations on the Doctrine of Phlogiston, and the Decomposition of Water". In it, Priestley can be caught saying that water is something "which I deem to be essential to the constitution of every kind of air". He also confidently states that "I have, in my experiments on terra ponderosa aerata [barium carbonate] demonstrated that water constitutes about half the weight of fixed air [carbon dioxide]." In addition Priestley goes on to reveal more about what phlogiston actually is:

In all other cases of the calcination of metals in air, which I have called the phlogistication of the air, it is not only evident that they gain something, which adds to their weight, but that they likewise part with something.

The most simple of these processes is the exposing iron to the heat of a burning lens in confined air, in consequence of which the air is diminished, and the iron becomes a calx. But that there is something emitted from the iron in this process is evident from the strong smell which arises from it. If the process be continued, inflammable air will be produced, if there be any moisture at hand to form the basis of it.

From this it is at least probable, that, as the process went on in an uniform manner, the same substance, viz. the basis of inflammable air, was continually issuing from it; and this is the substance, or principle, to which we give the name of phlogiston.

Priestley is saying that phlogisticated air is generated during combustion. He is referring to phlogisticated air as a product of combustion. The air becomes phlogisticated by being saturated with phlogiston. You may or may not be surprised to learn that today we call "phlogisticated air" - nitrogen. This leads us on to the big question - which has hung around stubbornly from the very first moment you started reading - what the hell is phlogiston exactly?

From the above, please note that Priestley does not say that phlogiston is inflammable air (hydrogen) but rather it is the "basis of inflammable air". Priestley continues:

When dephlogisticated [oxygen] and inflammable air [hydrogen], in the proportion of a little more than one measure of the former to two of the latter, both so pure as to contain no sensible quantity of phlogisticated air [nitrogen], are inclosed in a glass or copper vessel, and decomposed by taking an electric spark in it, a highly phlogisticated nitrous acid is instantly produced; and the purer the airs are, the stronger is the acid found to be.

If phlogisticated air be purposely introduced into this mixture of dephlogisticated and inflammable air, it is not affected by the process, though, when there is a considerable deficiency of inflammable air, the dephlogisticated air, for want of it, will unite with the phlogisticated air, and, as in Mr. Cavendish's experiment, form the same acid. But since both kinds of air, viz. the inflammable and the phlogisticated, contribute to form the same acid, they must contain the same principle, viz. phlogiston.

Phlogistonists believed that the less calx which remained after the combustion of a metal, the more phlogiston it contained. Charcoal is almost completely consumed when burned, and so charcoal is considered to be almost pure phlogiston. Charcoal is almost pure carbon. When burning charcoal hardly any smoke or ashes are formed, only carbon dioxide and water vapour. If you were looking for phlogiston, I think it might pay to look very carefully at a lump of coal. In Section III "Other Objections to the Antiphlogistic Theory" Priestley finally reveals that which he believes phlogiston to be:

Though the new theory discards phlogiston, and in this respect is more simple than the old, it admits another new principle, to which its advocates give the name of carbone, which they define to be the same thing with charcoal, free from earth, salts, and all other extraneous substances; and whereas we say that fixed air consists of inflammable air and dephlogisticated air or oxygen, they say that it consists of this carbone dissolved in dephlogisticated air. Mr. Lavoisier says that "wherever fixed air has been obtained, there is charcoal." They therefore call it the carbonic acid.

But in many of my experiments large quantities of fixed air have been procured where neither charcoal, nor any thing containing charcoal, was concerned, or none in quantity sufficient to account for it. When the purest malleable iron is heated in dephlogisticated air, or in vitriolic acid air, a considerable quantity of fixed air is formed.

Lastly, fixed air is procured in great abundance in animal respiration. It is true that fixed air is procured by exposing lime-water to atmospherical air, but it is never procured by this means in air confined in any vessel. There must, for this purpose, be an open communication with the atmosphere. but fixed air will be procured in great abundance by breathing air contained in the smallest receiver, and especially if the air be dephlogisticated. It must therefore be formed by phlogiston, or something emitted from the lungs, uniting with the dephlogistcated air which it meets there.

It may be said that since we feed in a great measure upon vegetables (and even animal food is originally formed from them) and this principle of carbone is found in all vegetables, this may be the substance that is exhaled from the lungs. But since, in this process, it forms the same substance that inflammable air from iron does with dephlogisticated air, or oxygen, it must be the same thing with it; and then this carbone will only be another name for phlogiston.

There we have it then. Priestley believed phlogiston was carbon. Therefore, it appears he understood phlogisticated air as being saturated with carbon, or to put it another way, that nitrogen was a compound which was made up with carbon.

The antiphlogistians always suppose azote, or phlogisticated air, to be a simple substance, though I think abundant evidence has been given (and more will be found in my last memoir, printed in the Transactions of the Philosophical Society at Philadelphia), that it is composed of phlogiston and dephlogisticated air.

You can find Priestley's entire treatise here thanks to:

So Priestly thought that nitrogen was a compound made-up of carbon and oxygen. Not forgetting aswell that he also thought water was "essential to the constitution of every kind of air". Obviously, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are made-up of carbon and oxygen too. Carbon monoxide will support combustion, but carbon dioxide will not, and neither does nitrogen. The carbon in carbon dioxide has been fully vapourized, whereas in carbon monoxide it has not.

I am at once grateful that the names used in the phlogiston theory are so over-descriptive. These names are not simply designed to be high falutin' for the sake of it, they give us a real chance of deciphering what it was that these early experimenters understood about the air around us.

Some important chemists of the time agreed with Priestley's idea that nitrogen was a compound body formed from oxygen. Berzelius and Sir H Davy both held the view that nitrogen was a compound; Berzelius went as far as proposing the name "Nitricon". Berzelius later dropped the hypothesis following Davy's series of experiments which failed to decompose the compound.

I found a very interesting article from the archives of the Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961. The article is headed "Discovery of Argon" and dated 1896:

...Recent investigations made by Lord Rayleigh and Professor Ramsay, which have not only resulted in conclusively establishing the compound nature of atmospheric nitrogen, but also in showing that the substance with which it is associated is a gas previously unknown, to which they have given the name of argon. But the question, What is argon? still remains to be solved. So far as present researches into its chemical character have been carried, it is found to possess properties of so peculiar a description as to raise questions of paramount importance for chemistry.

Argon... is supposed to be a tri-atomic form of nitrogen, as ozone is a bi-atomic form of oxygen; and many circumstances already known—for example, its concurrent appearance in nature with nitrogen, the difficulty of separating them, their common inertness—exaggerated in argon—their common lines in the spectra, their double spectra, and the outer resemblance of their benzine compounds as shown in Berthelot's experiments —are said to lend strength to this hypothesis.

The discovery of argon paved the way for the discovery of the noble gases in the atmosphere. The six noble gases that occur naturally are helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn). These gases are well known for their very low chemical reactivity. Neon lights are famous throughout the world for illuminating places you can buy a beer, but each one of the noble gases can also be used in the lamps. Each gas generates a different colour of the rainbow.

Oh. One more thing before I go... (I'm waving a cigar and hunched between the collars of my raincoat in my best impression of Columbo) ....but there were a couple of things about Priestley's work which still bug me. Priestley was not one for rash explanations of experiments. In spite of what appears to be blatant proof to the contrary, Priestley remained unconvinced that water was simply constituted of hydrogen and oxygen.

Another pretended proof that water is composed of dephlogisticated and inflammable air, is that when the latter is burned slowly in the former, they both disappear, and a quantity of water is produced, equal to their weight. I do not, however, find that it was in more than a single experiment that water so produced is said to have been entirely free from acidity...

If there be a redundancy of inflammable air in this process, no acid will be produced, as in the great experiment of the French chemists, but in the place of it there will be a quantity of phlogisticated air. A considerable quantity of water is always produced in these decompositions of air. But this circumstance only proves that the greatest part of the weight of all kinds of air is water. I have, in my experiments on terra ponderosa aerata demonstrated that water constitutes about half the weight of fixed air.

Priestley is confident however that "the greatest part of the weight of all kinds of air is water",and that water makes up half the weight of carbon dioxide. Maybe Priestley was on to something. Here's me thinking that the experiments which show the decomposition of water prove exactly what it is made of. I thought it was unquestionable. But Priestley's reservations show that it just depends on how you look at it.

Priestley is also famous for inventing the world's first fizzy drink when, in 1772, he carbonated water. One volume of carbon dioxide will dissolve in one volume of water at standard room temperature and pressure to form carbonic acid. The carbon dioxide simply slips into the bath and appears to displace nothing. That's gotta mean something, right?

On April 15, 1770, Joseph Priestley recorded his discovery of Indian gum's ability to rub out or erase lead pencil marks. He wrote, "I have seen a substance excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the mark of black lead pencil." These were the first erasers which Priestley called a "rubber".

Indian rubber is an old friend of mine. I have wondered in the past why a solvent that dissolves Indian rubber was named ether, when the name was already taken by alchemists for the substance of the very Universe itself. And here's Priestley using the rubber to wipe-out the mistakes he wrote with his pencil. The lead in pencil is of course made from graphite - a form of carbon!

Many thanks:
Elements of chemistry By Edward Turner, Franklin Bache
From Atomos to Atom By Andrew G. van Melsen

Monday, 10 August 2009

Chemical History Of A Candle

I SEE you are not tired of the candle yet, or I am sure you would not be interested in the subject in the way you are. When our candle was burning we found it produced water exactly like the water we have around us; and by farther examination of this water we found in it that curious body - hydrogen....

There is no better, there is no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural philosophy than by considering the physical phenomena of a candle.

--Michael Faraday

There's an experiment where a lighted candle stands on a dish of water. A glass jar is placed over the candle. Eventually the candle extinguishes, and the water in the dish is pulled inside the jar. This mostly happens just after the candle flame has gone out. When the candle is alight it causes the side of the glass to become misty - steamy. Once the air cools as the candle goes out, water vapour condenses on the side of the jar, and appears as drops of water.

This site offers a real good explanation of the experiment:

Or you can watch it here:

The wax of the candle is actually formed of carbon and hydrogen and so is called a hydrocarbon. Most fuels including petrol and coal are hydrocarbons. During the process of burning the carbon combines with the oxygen of the air and forms carbon dioxide. Hydrogen in turn combines with oxygen to form water vapour. It is not the solid wax, nor the melted wax, nor the wick which burns when a candle is lit. In fact, what is burning is a vapour or gas.

The amount of water being pulled into the glass occupies about one-fifth of the volume. Supposedly, the water has replaced the oxygen which was burnt inside the glass. It is for this reason that we are taught that air contains one-fifth oxygen.

One thing to remember though is that oxygen does not burn. Oxygen inside the glass does not burn. Since oxygen does not react with oxygen it cannot burn. Only the fuel "burns". For example carbon is a fuel and will react with oxygen (oxidizing agent) to form the new compound, carbon dioxide. If the oxygen really was being burnt then we would expect to see the water rise gradually - it doesn't. It's a very rapid rise after the candle goes out.

The air inside the glass gets hot. The outer core of the candle flame is known to reach temperatures of 1400 degrees C. It gets a bit steamy. We have hydrogen gas being released by the candle. I don't think it's simply a hydrogen atom bouncing around. I think it is a small hydrogen atom being released from the candle, and expanding into a large atom of hydrogen gas. Here, it reacts with the oxygen in the air, and forms water vapour. This reaction is known to produce intense heat.

When the candle goes out the air cools. The water vapour condenses on the side of the glass. The water in the dish is then pulled up into the glass. We are taught that "nature abhors a vacuum", and I think there is a ring of truth to this. Nature - and you don't get any closer to the very nature of the Universe than the electric fluid of the aether - abhors a vacuum. The aether much rather prefers equilibrium.

At this stage I would like to summise that water vapour inside the glass is turned into liquid water. As a vapour, water occupies a lot more space than as a liquid - some 1700 times more. A water vapour molecule could therefore be some 1700 times bigger than a liquid water molecule. Once the water vapour is taken from the air and condensed into water - it's going to leave quite literally nothing behind. What then is going to fill that space which is left? Why water from the dish of course!

Air displaces water. In accordance with Archimedes principle, the amount of water displaced depends on the mass of that object (not the weight). The water sucked from the dish into the glass is replacing something which occupied the same mass. Mass is the amount of material in an object. The water sucked into the glass takes up roughly one-fifth of the volume inside the glass. Is it possible then that the water which has condensed on the side of the glass once occupied one-fifth of the volume as water vapour? Does air consist of one-fifth water? In a previous post I suspected that the air IS water vapour - does this still apply?

Hydrogen burns with a mostly invisible flame. Pure hydrogen-oxygen flames, as used by some rockets, emit ultraviolet light and are nearly invisible to the naked eye. If you look at a candle flame, you will see nearest the wick, the flame is nearly invisible. A candle flame, though sadly this is hardly ever mentioned, must also emit UV because some fire-detection hardware use UV sensors to detect a flame. The hottest part of the flame is directly above this blue part at the base of the flame.

The brightest part of the flame is not the hottest. The luminous zone on a candle is where the free carbon burns and releases light - visible light. The fuel of the candle are hydrocarbons. That's a hydrogen and carbon combo. Both are reacting with the oxygen in the air. Hydrogen expands from a solid state into a gas and reacts with oxygen to create water vapour. But what of the carbon? What process does it undergo as it leaves the candle wax, up the wick, and into the flames? Faraday has something interesting to say about carbon vapours while he was burning a piece of charcoal:

You may say that the charcoal is actually dissolving in the air round about; and if that were perfectly pure charcoal, which we can easily prepare, there would be no residue whatever. When we have a perfectly cleansed and purified piece of carbon, there is no ash left. The carbon burns as a solid dense body, that heat alone can not change as to its solidity, and yet it passes away into vapor that never condenses into solid or liquid under ordinary circumstances; and what is more curious still is the fact that the oxygen does not change in its bulk by the solution of the carbon in it. Just as the bulk is at first, so it is at last, only it has become carbonic acid.

Faraday's appears to be saying that the carbon vapourizes. A vapour is often thought of as being a gaseous state which condenses, for example, steam condenses into water. He's also pointing out that the carbon which fully burns does not condense. The "vaporized" carbon maybe thought of as more acting like a gas.

If the flame from the candle touches the glass it can leave a stain of black soot. Soot is unburned carbon fuel. Soot indicates incomplete combustion and the formation of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. Complete combustion of the carbon produces practically no soot or carbon monoxide, and is recognised by a blue flame. Where there is soot, there is usually carbon monoxide. One might be persuaded to say that soot is evidence perhaps of where carbon monoxide condenses on a surface. One then might be tempted to conclude that carbon monoxide acts as a vapour, while carbon dioxide acts as a gas.

The bright yellow luminous zone is where the carbon particles become incandescent and the flame yields light. Because we produce the soot from the flame, we could summise that the carbon is not fully vaporised until it reaches the tip of the flame. And it's here we fall into a bit of an argument about which part of the flame is hottest. While some claim the blue part of the flame is hottest, we are also told that the tip of the flame is where you find the most heat. This is because the flame's heat is supposedly delivered toward the tip.

Only thing is - energy belongs to the aether field. Energy is not so much transmitted, but rather accessed. This means energy is not delivered to the tip of the flame. Energy from the aether is being induced by the flame, and for whatever reason, the most heat is induced at the tip of the flame. One might be tempted to describe this heat at the tip of the flame as a "dry" heat, whereas the blue part of the flame might be described as a "wet" heat - as derived from steam.

Can it be said then, that the vaporization of carbon transforms the high energy ultraviolet light into what we see as visible light? The candle flame appears to express quite a number of wavelengths from the electromagnetic spectrum. Starting with the invisible UV at the base of the wick, then moving on to the flame and its yellow, orange and red hues from the visible spectrum, and then to the outer-core of the flame where we have the longer infrared wavelengths.

While writing this blog I have been heavily influenced by proposals made by 19th Century natural philosophers (though I believe humans have known of its existence for a much longer time) - regarding a medium through which EM waves propagate - the "luminiferous aether". Atomic vortices induce the aether to flow through them. EMR is emitted by these vortices as a vibrational wave in the aether.

We are seeing a number of EM waves in the simple flame of a candle. In past posts I have wondered if different molecules have different sized atoms which generate different wavelengths in the aether. It's interesting that we can isolate the handful of gases involved in combustion by peering in the glass of this simple experiment. It's a window to what might be happening in the atmosphere around us.

So far we've looked at only one-fifth of the volume in the glass - what about the other four-fifths? Well, that is nitrogen. We are told that the air around us is made of something like 79% nitrogen. We say there is this much nitrogen in the air basically because we find this much inside the glass AFTER the combustion. But really, was it there BEFORE the combustion?

Some have carried out the experiment using more than one candle. They have found that the more candles you use, then the greater is the volume of water that is pulled into the glass. More than one-fifth is sucked-in. If oxygen in the air was really being burnt then this volume should remain the same - regardless of the number of candles. With more candles you're going to get more heat. Does this mean you get more steam? I think this also helps allay my fears about the amount of water vapour in the air. It means there is not simply one-fifth water vapour in the air, and the amount is still open to interpretation.

Many thanks:

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Is The Atomic Weight Of Oxygen 8?

If the atomic weight of water is 9, then it presents a bit of a problem regarding oxygen. Oxygen weighs about 16 times more than the same volume of hydrogen. When creating water, the weight ratio is 1:8, basically one volume of hydrogen plus a volume of oxygen which is half this proportion. Or another way, two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. If the atomic weight of water is 9, then oxygen does not have the atomic weight of 16, but rather it is 8.

A whole oxygen atom has the atomic weight of 8. But I wonder if what we see when we look at oxygen gas, as it presents itself as atomic weight 16, is some sort of relationship it has with itself. Maybe it just loves to hang about in pairs. It likes to react with itself. Isn't it lovely that a figure 8 appears to signify such a pairing?

Then hydrogen comes along, and with the aid of a spark or flame, it hands over the divorce papers and breaks the two oxygen atoms apart. Hydrogen thus reveals the true atomic weight of one oxygen atom to be 8. In doing so it gives us a bang and a flash and water.

Water is two volumes of hydrogen added to one volume of oxygen to give us not 3, but 2 volumes of water. Something happens which appears to make one volume disappear. So far I've suggested that the hydrogen atom shrinks to half its size to make water. This would make water a mixture of 50% hydrogen and 50% oxygen by volume.

The next suggestion was that the oxygen atom drops into a hydrogen atom and displaces something from the aether, and that it is this displacement which generates energy. Once again, this would mean water was a 50/50 mix of hydrogen and oxygen.

Where does it leave us now then? I like the idea that the oxygen atom is displacing something. In doing so, I am starting to imagine oxygen atoms as footballs or something, and that they enter hydrogen gas which looks more like a fluid - a liquid. In this displacement I think it's possible that energy could spill out from the electric fluid of the aether.

Also, I wonder what is the impact generated by seperating the paired atoms in oxygen gas to create water? What does it have to do with the bang and the flash that we find in the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen? A clue perhaps lies in electrolysis and the recombination of oxygen and hydrogen which gives us electricity.

When the electricity is introduced to the water - gas bubbles form at the platinum electrodes. Oxygen appears at the positive electrode (anode), and hydrogen at the negative (cathode). This would mean that the oxygen atom is paired inside the gas bubbles. It's taken outside energy to reform the oxygen into a gas. But here's the kick, if we switch off the electric supply, the dissappating bubbles give us some electricity back. Is it the division of the oxygen molecule which gives us electricity?

The oxygen molecules that make up oxygen gas take up a lot more space than those oxygen atoms in water. The atoms expand as a gas, and hang out in pairs, but split up and contract into something much smaller when part of liquid water. I imagine hydrogen as the referee holding two oxygen atoms apart. I think there is still a lot I don't understand about hydrogen. Hell, there's a lot I don't understand about anything!

When oxygen gas reacts with hydrogen gas it generates water vapour. You also get intense heat and a "pop". The water vapour condenses and forms liquid water. Surely, this condensation would pull a vacuum? (I apologise to those men of science whom might be reading this and thus find that their toe curls at the mention of the words "pull a vacuum"). We've seen how water condensing in a sealed can pulls a vacuum, and makes it look like the can had been sucked in from the inside. It appears therefore that the Universe is willing to expend a lot of energy to maintain equilibrium.

If the reaction to make water is hard and fast, it is perhaps suggestive that the Universe moves hard and fast to fill the vacuum. If the constant applied pressure of the Universe is 300,000 cubic km per sec, then it's going to fill a little ol' vacuum pretty darn quick. What exactly is filling this vacuum then? The aether? So far I've only managed to give the aether an ethereal, other world quality, when perhaps it is a little closer to home.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Hey! Mr.Comstock Agrees With Me!

I found a book that is pretty interesting. It's called "Elements of chemistry" and was written by John Lee Comstock, and it appears to have been dated from 1832. I've not had the pleasure of reading the whole book, it's just a few pages which grabbed my attention. Comstock, through his own experiments on hydrogen and oxygen, has managed to confirm some of my own ideas about the atomic weight of water.

...The number for water ... is 9, being composed of 1 proportion of oxygen 8, and 1 proportion of hydrogen 1.... it is proved that hydrogen and oxygen unite in the proportions of two of the first, to one of the last, by volume; and in the proportions of 1 and 8 by weight.

It's always nice to find someone that agrees with me. Shame it's nearly two hundred years ago, though. But I think it illustrates some of the thinking around at the time of the birth of modern physics. I think they had a lot of things down pat. Somehow, it's evolved in to the very complicated monster that we know physics as today. Comstock has also given me a gentle reminder about something:

When hydrogen and oxygen are burned together in the proportions in which they form water, a most intense heat is produced.

Now I was thinking that this heat has to come from somewhere. I was wondering if, as the hydrogen and oxygen form a water molecule, if something is being displaced in the aether field. So far I have discussed the possibility that the hydrogen atom shrinks to half its volume when it is burned to create water. Two volumes of hydrogen react with one volume of oxygen to make two volumes of water. Somehow, we end up with one volume pulling a disappearing act.

Another possibility is that the hydrogen atom remains the same size, but the oxygen atom just plops into the middle of it - and stays there - to form a water molecule. As the oxygen atom enters the hydrogen atom - would it perhaps displace some of the electric fluid of the aether which once resided there? It might start to give us an idea about where the energy from the reaction comes from. It's like me jumping into a bath full of water, and the water spilling over the sides. This spillage is accessible as heat and light, perhaps.

Oh. And there's something else which Comstock says which might be made of some importance:

When hydrogen is mixed with oxygen and inflamed the mixture detonates violently. The best proportions are two parts of the hydrogen and one of oxygen by volume. If soap bubbles of this mixture are touched with a candle when floating in the air, they give a report as loud as a pistol, but much more sharp and stunning.

I found this so suggestive. Is it saying something about the way sound is communicated through the air - from source to destination - hopping from bubble to bubble? And the pistol shrimp - do you remember him? By snapping its claw the shrimp was able to deliver knock-out blows which stun prey. The claw collapses a cavitation bubble that generates temperatures as hot as the surface of the Sun. Is the pistol shrimp forcing a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to take place in its claw?

I would like to thank Maui Snorkeling Trips for the awesome photo of the pistol shrimp. And what is that cute curly stuff?