[ocr errors]

pure form. I heated the fluates of potassa and soda in trays of platina, in a tube of platina connected with a vessel filled with chlorine. In this case the fluates were converted into muriates, with a considerable increase of the weight of the tray; and the platina was violently acted upon, and covered with a reddish brown powder; and in the instance in which fluate of potassa was used, a compound of fluate of platina and muriate of potassa was formed.

There was a considerable absorption of chlorine; but no new gaseous matter could be discovered in the gas in the tube.

I tried to obtain the fluoric principle pure, by decomposing the fluates in a tube of silver, but with no better success; the silver was acted upon both by the chlorine and the fluoric principle, and rapidly dissolved. I used glass tubes coated with resin of copper (cuprane) and hornsilver (argentane), on which I concluded that the fluoric principle would have no action from the decomposition of fluate of silver by chlorine; but at the degree of heat required to decompose the fluoric salts, the muriates were always fused, the glass violently acted upon, and silicated fluoric acid


formed. In one instance, in which fluate of potassa had been heated in a platina tray and tube, in which muriate of potassa had been fused, for the purpose of defending the interior, as much as possible, from the action of the fuoric principle, the

when disengaged into the atmosphere, had a peculiar smell, different from that of chlorine, (which certainly formed the greatest proportion of the elastic matter,) and more disagreeable; and dense white fumes were produced by its action upon the air. A portion of this gas thrown into a glass receiver, over mercury, acted upon the glass, and silicated fluoric acid gas was generated. On examining the platina tray, however, it was found corroded, and the reddish brown powder formed.


In the course of these investigations, I made several attempts to detach hydrogen from the liquid fluoric acid, by the agency of oxygen and chlorine. It was not decomposed when passed through a platina tube heated red with chlorine, nor by being distilled from salts containing abundance of oxygen, or those containing abundance of chlorine.

I distilled the fluates of lead and mercury with phosphorus and sulphur, with the hope of obtaining compounds of the fluoric principle with phosphorus and sulphur. In all experiments of this kind, a decomposition took place, and the glass tubes employed were violently acted upon, and sulphurets and phosphurets were formed. When I used tubes lined with sulphur the decomposition was less perfect; but minute quantities of limpid fluid condensed in a part of the tube cooled by ice, both in the cases when sulphur and when phosphorus were used; it had the appearance of hydrofluoric acid, and speedily dissipated itself in white fumes. Whether they were that substance which had obtained its hydrogen from these inflammable bodies, or compounds of sulphur and phosphorus with the fluoric principle, I have not ascertained, but the first opinion seems most probable.

When I heated fluate of lead and finely powdered charcoal strongly in the air, the lead became revived, and white fumes were produced. I thought it probable, that in this case a compound of fluorine and charcoal was formed; but on trying

1 the experiment in a close vessel of platina, no change took

[ocr errors]

place; and it evidently depended upon the presence of hydrogen in the vapour of the atmosphere, or in the flame of the spirit lamp, by which the experiment was made, and I found muriate of silver decomposed, and silver produced under the same circumstances.

From the general tenor of the results that I have stated, it appears reasonable to conclude that there exists in the fluoric compounds a peculiar substance, possessed of strong attractions for metallic bodies and hydrogen, and which combined with certain inflammable bodies forms peculiar acids, and which, in consequence of its strong affinities and high decomposing agencies, it will be very difficult to examine in a pure form, and, for the sake of avoiding circumlocution, it may be denominated fuorine, a name suggested to me by M. AMPERE.

From experiments that I have made on the composition of the fuoric combinations, and which I shall soon have the honour of communicating to the Society, it appears that the number representing the definite proportion in which fluorine combines, is less than half the number representing that in which chlorine combines; and hydrates in becoming fluates lose weight, so that on the generally received idea of the existence of a peculiar acid in the fluates, and of their being compounds of oxides, with an acid containing oxygen, that acid, according to the law of definite proportions, must contain more oxygen in proportion to its quantity of inflammable matter than water, which is highly improbable, and contrary to all analogies.

Dr. WOLLASTON has found, that the fuoric combinations have very low powers of refracting light, and particularly the pure fluoric acid; so that the refracting powers of fluorine will probably be found lower than those of any other substance, and it appears to possess higher acidifying and saturating powers than either oxygen or chlorine.

It is easy to perceive, in following the above theory, that all the ideas current in chemical authors respecting the fluoric combinations, must be changed. Fluor spar, and other analogous substances, for instance, must be regarded as binary compounds of metals and fluorine.

Many objects of enquiry arise, likewise, from these new views: the topaz contains the fluoric principle, but new experiments are required to shew whether that gem is a true

a silicated fluate of alumina, or a compound of the inflammable bases of alumina and silica with fluorine.

I have ascertained that the chryolite yields no silicated fluoric

gas, when acted on by sulphuric acid, but merely pure fluoric acid; but I have not continued the research so far, as to determine whether it contains fluorine united to inflammable matter only, or fluorine and oxygen,

XXXII. Catalogue of North Polar Distances of Eighty-four

principal fixed Stars, deduced from Observations made with the Mural Circle at the Royal Observatory. By John Pond, Esq. Astronomer Royal, F.R.S.

Read July 8, 1819.


He Catalogue, which I have the honour to transmit to the Society, is deduced from the whole of the observations made with the mural circle, from its first erection in June, 1812, to the present time. I am still employed in endeavouring to give it a greater degree of precision, and when it is entirely finished, I propose to submit some of the observations themselves to the Society, and explain the method by which the results have been obtained.

I have already mentioned, that I use neither level nor plumbline; but determine the position of the instrument by means of a standard catalogue of stars derived from the instrument itself, in such a manner, that every series of observation of these stars, serves the double purpose of ascertaining the posisition of the instrument, and at the same time improving the Catalogue.

As the present Catalogue has been formed by frequently changing the position of the telescope on the circle, for the purpose of correcting every possible error of division, my observations have not been calculated to decide the question of parallax which has been suspected to exist in a Lyræ, a

« VorigeDoorgaan »