Miscellany

Now that hydrogen has been liquefied there seems to be no more worlds to conquer in that special direction. It was a remarkable coincidence that the first public exhibition of this latest wonder was made in connection with the centenary of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Professor Dewar, in opening the exhibition, spoke of liquid hydrogen as a new instrument of research, which it eminently is by virtue of the extremely low temperature at which alone it can exist, and which low temperature, it, by its presence of contact, enables other substances approximately to reach. The liquid was exhibited in a state of gentle ebullition in a vacuum tube immersed in liquid air, the latter serving to impede the access of the heat. The hydrogen is a transparent liquid and, besides being the coldest, is also the lightest liquid known.

A cork drops immediately to the bottom of it. At the bottom of the vessel containing the liquid there appeared a whitish substance, which is in fact, solid air, or air ice. It is impossible to avoid the air ice in the bottom of the vessel, as the air at the surface of the liquid is, by the intense cold, condensed, liquefied, and subsequently solidified: and, being so much heavier than the hydrogen, it sinks and accumulates at the bottom. To show that the liquid was really hydrogen a light was applied to a small quantity, which at once burst into brilliant flame. Solids immersed in the liquid long enough to attain the same temperature were, upon being taken out, covered with liquid air. which would run down and drop off.—American Machinist.

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February 22, 1900
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