Skip to main content
128 BREATH FIGURES [368
sulphuric acid fails if employed cold. A few drops were poured upon a giass (i-plate photographic from which the film had been removed), and caused to form an elongated pool, say, half an inch wide. After standing level for about five minutesólonger than the time required for the treatment with hot acidóthe plate was rapidly washed under the tap, soaked for a few minutes, and finally rinsed with distilled water, and dried over a spirit lamp. Examined when cold by breathing, the plate showed, indeed, the form of the pool, but mainly by the darkness of the edge. The interior was, perhaps, not quite indistinguishable from the ground on which the acid had not acted, but there was no approach to darkness. This experiment may, I suppose, be taken to prove that the action of the hot acid is not attributable to a residue remaining after the washing.
I have not found any other treatment which will produce a dark track without the aid of heat. Chromic acid, aqua regia, and strong potash are alike ineffective. These reagents do undoubtedly exercise a cleansing action, so that the result is not entirely in favour of the grease theory as ordinarily understood.
My son, Hon. R. J. Strutt, tried for me an experiment in which part of an ordinarily cleaned glass was exposed for three hours to a stream of strongly ozonised oxygen, the remainder being protected. On examination with the breath, the difference between the protected and unprotected parts was scarcely visible.
It has been mentioned that the edges of pools of strong cold sulphuric acid and of many other reagents impress themselves, even when there is little or no effect in the interior. To exhibit this action at its best, it is well to employ a minimum of liquid; otherwise a creeping of the edge during the time of contact may somewhat obscure it. The experiment succeeds about equally well even when distilled water from a wash-bottle is substituted for powerful reagents. On the grease theory the effect maybe attributed to the cleansing action of a pure free surface, but other interpretations probably could be suggested.
Very dark deposits, showing under suitable illumination the colours of thin plates, may be obtained on freshly-blown bulbs of soft glass. It is convenient to fill the interior with water, to which a little ink may be added. From this observation no particular conclusion can be deduced, since the surface, though doubtless very clean, has been exposed to the blow-pipe flame. In my former communication, I mentioned that no satisfactory result was obtained when a glass plate was strongly heated on the back by a long Bunsen burner; but I am now able to bring forward a more successful experiment.
A test-tube of thin glass, about '$ inch in diameter, was cleaned internally until it gave an even bright deposit. The breath is introduced through.