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diminished in the same circumstances. For this purpose I kept for some months a quart bottle full of each of these kinds of air; but as different quantities of inflammable air vary very, much in this respect, it is not improbable but that nitrous air may vary also.
From one trial that I made, I conclude that nitrous air may be kept in a bladder much better than most other kinds of air. The air to which I reser was kept about a fortnight in a bladder, through which the peculiar smell of the nitrous air was very sensible for several days. In a day or two the bladder became red, and was much contracted in its dimensions. The air within it had lost very little of its peculiar property of diminishing common air.
I did not endeavour to ascertain the exact: quantity of nitrous air produced from given quantities of all the metals which yield it; but the few observations which I did make for this purpose I shall recite in this place: dwt. gr.
6 o of silver yielded 17s ounce measures. 5 19 of quicksilver 4I
1 of copper 14s
2 o of brass 21
0 20 of iron 16
1 5 of bismuth 6 o 12 of nickel 4
Of Air insected with the Fumes of Burning Charcoal.
Air insected with the fumes of burning charcoal is well known to be noxious; and the Honourable Mr. Cavendish favoured me with an account of some experiments of his, in which a quantity of common air was reduced from 180 to 162 ounce measures, by passing through a red-hot iron tube filled with the dust of. charcoal. This diminution he ascribed to such a destruction of common air as Dr. Hales imagined to be the consequence of burning. Mr. Cavendish also observed, that there had been a generation of fixed air in this process, but that it was absorbed by sope leys. This experiment I also repeated, with a small variation of circumstances, and with nearly the same result.
Afterwards I endeavoured to ascertain, by what appears to me to be an easier and more certain method, in what manner air is affected with the fumes of charcoal, viz. by suspending bits of charcoal within glass vessels, filled to a certain height with water, and standing inverted in another vessel of water, while I threw the focus of a burning mirror, or lens, upon them. In this manner I diminished a given quantity of air one fifth, which is nearly in the fame proportion with other diminutions of air.
If, instead of pure water, I used lime-water in this process, it never failed to become turbid by the precipitation of the lime, which could only be occasioned by fixed air, either discharged from the charcoal, or deposited by the common air. At first I concluded that it came from the charcoal ; but considering that it is not probable that fixed air, confined in any substance, can bear so great a degree of heat as is necessary to make charcoal, without being wholly expelled; and that in other diminutions of common air by phlogiston only, there appears to be a deposition of fixed air, I have new no doubt but that, in this case also, it is supplied from the same source.
This opinion is the more probable, from there being the same precipitation of lime, in this process, with whatever degree of heat the charcoal had been made. If, however, the charcoal had not been made with a very considerable degree of heat, there never failed to be a permanent addition of inflammable air produced; which agrees with what 1 observed before, that, in converting dry wood into charcoal, the greatest part is changed into inflammable air.
I have sometimes found, that charcoal which was made with the most intense heat of a smith's fire, which vitrified part of a common crucible in which the charcoal was confined, and which had been continued above half an hour, did not diminish the air in which the focus of a burning mirror was thrown upon it; a quantity of inflammable air equal to the diminution of the common air being generated in the process: whereas, at other times, I have not perceived that there was any generation of inflammable air, but a simple diminution of common air, when the charcoal had been made with a much less degree of heat. This subject deserves to be farther investigated.
To make the preceding experiment with still more accuracy, I repeated it in quicksilver; when I perceived that there was a small increase of the quantity of air, probably from a generation of inflammable air. Thus ic stood without any alteration a whole night, and part of the following day; when lime-water, being admitted to it, it presently became turbid, and, after some time, the whole quantity of air, which was about four ounce measures, was diminished one fifth, as before. In this case, I carefully K 2 weighed weighed the piece of charcoal, which was ex. actly two grains, and could not find that it was sensibly diminished in weight by the operation.
Air thus diminished by the fumes of burning charcoal not only extinguishes flame, but is in the highest degree noxious to animals; it makes no effervescence with nitrous air, and is incapable of being diminished any farther by the tumes of more charcoal, by a mixture of iron filings and brimstone, or by any other cause of the di* minution of air that I am acquainted with.
This observation, which respects all other kinds of diminished air, proves that Dr. Hales was mistaken in his notion of the absorption of air in those circumstances in which he observed it. For he supposed that the remainder was, in all cases, of the same nature with that which had been absorbed, and that the operation of the same cause would not have failed,to produce a farther diminution; whereas all my observations shew that air, which has once been fully diminished by any cause whatever, is not only incapable of any farther diminution, either from the fame or from any other cause, but that it has likewise acquired new properties, most remarkably different from those which it had before, and that they are, in a great measure, the