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Experimental Chemistry


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.




Apparatus

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.

Laboratory Operations

When measuring liquids, always read from the lower meniscus, as shown in the illustration.

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 results.

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.

Glass Working

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.

FIRE POLISHING:—
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.
TABLE
10 Millimeters
10 Milligrams
10 Milliliters
10 Centimeters
10 Centigrams
10 Centiliters
10 Decimeters
10 Decigrams
10 Deciliters
10 Meters
10 Grams
10 Liters
10 Dekameters
10 Dekagrams
10 Dekaliters
10 Hektometers 
10 Hektograms
10 Hektoliters
10 Kilometers
10 Kilograms
10 Kiloliters
(m.m.)
(m. g.)
(m. l.)
(c. m.)
(c. g.)
(c. l.)
(d. m.)
(d. g.)
(d. l.)
(M)
(G)
(L)
(D.m.)
(D. g.)
(D. l.)
(H.m.)
(H. g.)
(H. l.)
(Km.)
(K. g.)
(K. l.)
(surface) 
(weight)
(liquid)
1 Centimeter
1 Centigram
1 Centiliter
1 Decimeter
1 Decigram
1 Deciliter
1 Meter
1 Gram
1 Liter
1 Dekameter
1 Dekagram
1 Dekaliter
1 Hektometer 
1 Hektogram
1 Hektoliter
1 Kilometer
1 Kilogram
1 Kiloliter
1 Myriameter
1 Myriagram
1 Myrialiter
(c. m.)
(c. g.)
(c l.)
(d. m.)
(d. g.)
(d. l.)
(M)
(G)
(L)
(D.m.)
(D. g.)
(D. l.)
(H.m.)
(H. g.)
(H. l.)
(K.m )
(K. g.)
(K. l.)
(M.m.)
(M. g.)
(M. l.)

USEFUL METRIC TABLES
1 inch equals 
1 Centimeter
1 liter
1 liter
1 liter
1 pint
1 quart
1 fluid ounce
1 fluid dram
 equals 
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
2.54 centimeters (Approx. 2.5 cm.)
0.3937 inch (Approx. 0.4 inch)
1.000 cubic centimeters
0.2642 gallon
1.057 quarts
0.473 liter
0.946 liter
29.57 cubic centimeters
3.7 cubic centimeters

The gram is the unit of 1cubic centimeter of water at 4 degrees Centigrade.

1 gram
1 gram
1 ounce
1 kilogram
1 kilogram
1 Metric ton 
1 Metric ton
 equals 
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
   "
0.035 ounces (Avoirdupois)
15.43 grains
28.35 grams
1.000 grains
2.2 pounds
1,000 kilograms
2.205 pounds

In our July issue Mr. Wilsdon will give us chemical definitions and he will show us how to perform simple chemical experiments. - Editor.



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