By Albert W. Wilsdon
ELECTRICITY and Chemistry are so closely related to each other that
the study of one without the other tends to make the student and the
experimenter very one-sided indeed. We might state that there can be no
first-class electrician who has not a fair knowledge of chemistry. Great electricians
such as Volta, Faraday, Ampere, Plante, Edison and countless others
were all good chemists.
That is the reason for beginning our "Experimental Chemistry" in this
issue. Chemistry is such an interesting study that we feel certain that all
experimenters will welcome every installment. The course will extend over
one year and as its name proclaims, it will be strictly experimental. The
able author, Mr. Wilsdon will not feed us with formulas and theories—there
are text-books for this purpose—but he will show us how to perform chemical
experiments, using simple, non-technical language. We have every
reason to believe that you will like the new department. EDITOR.
Most prospective students in chemistry are of the belief that a very
elaborate and expensive laboratory equipment is necessary, but the
purpose of this article, besides giving the elementary principles of
chemistry, is to afford the average amateur with instructions for
equipping a laboratory on an economical basis.
If the reader can afford it, I would advise that a set of glass stoppered
reagent bottles be purchased. If these bottles are bought, obtain them
with the name of the reagent and symbol blown in the glass, if possible.
List of Apparatus
Two pieces asbestos, 4x4 inches; 1 balance scale with metric weights; 1
jeweler's blowpipe; 1 test tube brush; 1 Bunsen burner; 1 test tube clamp
for test tubes, etc.; 1 porcelain crucible, No. 00 with lid; 1
evaporating dish, No. 0; 1 round file; 1 triangular file; 1 pair iron
forceps, 4 inches; 1 piece iron gauze, 5x5 inches; 1 glass cutter; 1
mortar and pestle, 1 package filter paper, 4 inches; 1 test tube rack to
hold 12 test tubes; 1 combustion spoon; 1 ring stand with 3 rings ;
rubber stoppers, assorted sizes, Nos. to 5, one and two hole; 1 tripod,
iron; 1 pipe stem triangle; glass tubing; 1 foot rubber tubing to fit
glass tubing snug; 2 beakers, 100 c.c.; 1 beaker, 250 c.c.; 4
eight-ounce bottles; 2 two-hole stoppers and 1 one-hole stopper to fit
above; 2 Florence or Erlenmeyer flasks; 1 Metric graduate, 25 c.c.; 4
glass plates, 4x4 inches; 6 or 12 test tubes, 6x3/4 inches; 1 Thistle
tube; 1 glass funnel. The above apparatus can be purchased as required.
When measuring liquids, always read from the lower meniscus, as shown in
If you spill any powder or liquid on the work table, wipe it up as soon
as possible. Do not let it remain on the table for any considerable
length of time without wiping it up.
When mixing Sulphuric Acid, ALWAYS REMEMBER that the water must NEVER be
added to the acid. The correct way to mix this acid is to pour the water
into a vessel, and add the acid, in small quantities, while keeping the
liquid in constant movement by stirring.
When pouring a liquid into a test tube, extend the arms as far as
possible and keep the middle of the tube on a level with your eyes. Never
hold the tube close to your body, with your face over the tube, while
pouring in a liquid.
Always do exactly as the experiment tells you. If the experiment calls
for 5 grams, use 5 grams, otherwise you will not obtain the desired
Wash your test tubes and bottles after each experiment. Do not leave them
for any length of time, as they will be much harder to clean.
Concentrated Acid means acid of the indicated specific gravity.
Hydrochloric acid has a specific gravity of 1:19; Nitric acid has a
specific gravity of 1 :42, and Sulphuric acid of 1 :84. Concentrated
Ammonia should have a specific gravity of 0.09.
Diluted Acids (and Ammonium Hydroxide):-
Dilute 1 part of Ammonium Hydroxide with 4 parts of Water.
Dilute 1 part of Hydrochloric Acid with 4 parts of Water.
Dilute 1 part of Sulphuric Acid with 6 parts of Water.
Dilute 1 part of Nitric Acid with 4 parts of water.
The Metric system is the general unit of weights and measures in
chemistry and all the experiments will call for the Metric weights.
CUTTING GLASS PLATES:
Lay the plate of glass on a perfectly smooth surface, and measure off the
required distance from the edge of the plate.
Now place a ruler on the plate in a line with the part to be cut, and
with the left hand hold it in place. Take the glass cutter in the right
hand and draw it over the glass (guided by the ruler), using a little
pressure, and until you hear a distinct scratching noise. Now pick up
the glass and with the side having the scratch away from you press gently
outward with the thumbs and inward with the fingers.
This should leave a fairly smooth edge.
BREAKING GLASS TUBING:
Make a sharp scratch on the desired part of the tube with a triangular
file. Make ONE SCRATCH, do not saw back and forth. Fig. 2 shows the
method of accomplishing this.
After you break a piece of glass tubing hold it in the flame of a
Bunsen Burner until the ends of the glass just begin to soften. Fig. 3
shows the method.
BENDING GLASS TUBING:—
Use a "fish-tail" burner, which gives it a broad flat flame (Fig. 4).
Hold the tube lengthwise in the flame so that the full heat of the burner
will be centered on about two inches of the tube. Roll the tube between
the fingers, so that the heat will be evenly distributed, but do not bend
it or allow it to bend, while it is in the flame. The first indications
that the tube is softening will appear when the flame turns to a yellow
color. As soon as the heated portion of the tube is soft TAKE IT FROM THE
FLAME and bend it at the angle which you desire. Do not put it on
anything except the asbestos pad while it is hot. All bends should have
the same diameter at the bend as at any other part of the tube.
In fitting a glass tube to a rubber stopper, ALWAYS run some water in the
hole and wet the tube before inserting, otherwise the tube might break
and cause serious results. A little common sense and care are prime
requisites to good results.
THE METRIC SYSTEM
How the table is made up:
Divide a meter into ten equal parts. One of these
parts is a DECIMETER.
If a decimeter is divided into ten equal parts, each
one of these parts is one CENTIMETER.
If a centimeter is divided into ten equal parts, each
one of these parts will represent one MILLIMETER.
Ten METERS make one DEKAMETER.
Ten DEKAMETERS make one HECTOMETER.
Ten HECTOMETERS make one KILOMETER.
Ten KILOMETERS make one MYRIAMETER.
USEFUL METRIC TABLES
1 inch equals
1 fluid ounce
1 fluid dram
2.54 centimeters (Approx. 2.5 cm.)
0.3937 inch (Approx. 0.4 inch)
1.000 cubic centimeters
29.57 cubic centimeters
3.7 cubic centimeters
The gram is the unit of 1cubic centimeter of water
at 4 degrees Centigrade.
1 Metric ton
1 Metric ton
0.035 ounces (Avoirdupois)
In our July issue Mr. Wilsdon will give
us chemical definitions and he will show
us how to perform simple chemical experiments.
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