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X. An Account of some Experiments on the Combinations of different Metals and Chlorine, &c. By John Davy, Esq. Communicated by Sir Humphry Davy, Knt. LL.D. Sec. R. S.
Read February 27, 1812.
My brother, Sir HUMPHRY DAVY, appears to me to have demonstrated, in his last Bakerian Lecture, the existence of a class of bodies similar to metallic oxides, and consisting of metals in union with chlorine or oxymuriatic acid.
These combinations are the principal subject of the following pages. I shall do myself the honour of giving an account of the experiments I have made to ascertain the proportions of their constituent parts, and likewise of describing some that have not yet been noticed.
I shall have to relate also the attempts I have made to ascertain the proportions of sulphur in several sulphurets, and the experiments I have performed to estimate the quantity of oxygene in some metallic oxides. The general analogy of definite proportions led me to both these undertakings. This analogy, it will be perceived, I have constantly kept in view, and have had recourse to, both for detecting inaccuracies in my own experiments, and in considering the results of the experiments of others.
As the nomenclature connected with the old hypothesis, respecting oxymuriatic acid, is inconsistent with the new views
of this substance, I shall venture to call the compounds of the metals and chlorine to be treated of, by the names which my brother has proposed for them.
1. On the Combinations of Chlorine and Copper, &c.
There are two distinct combinations of chlorine and copper, both of which may be directly made by the combustion of this metal in chlorine gas. When the gas was admitted into an exhausted retort containing copper filings, the filings became ignited, a fixed fusible substance quickly formed, and the interior of the retort soon became lined with a fine yellowish brown sublimate. The former substance evidently contains least chlorine, for when it was heated alone in chlorine gas, it absorbed an additional portion, and was converted into the latter. Hence the fixed compound may, in conformity with the principles of Sir HUMPHRY DAVY's nomenclature, be called cuprane, and the yellow sublimate, cupranea.
Cuprane may be procured in several other ways. It may be obtained by heating together copper filings and corrosive sublimate; and it was thus first discovered by BOYLE, who called it resin of copper, from its similitude to common resin. Two parts of corrosive sublimate, and one part of copper filings, I have found the best proportions of the materials.
It may be obtained by boiling copper filings in muriatic acid, or by exposing slips of copper partially immersed in this acid to the atmosphere. In the last instance, I have found the changes connected with the formation of cuprane rather complicated; the copper exposed receives oxygene from the atmosphere, and acid from the ascending muriatic acid fumes, and is thus converted into a green insoluble salt, and this