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CARBORUNDUM—CARCAR


Economic Products.—Foremost among the useful products of the Carboniferous rocks is the coal (q.v.) itself; but associated with the coal seams in Great Britain, North America and elsewhere, are very important beds of ironstone, fire-clay, terra-cotta clay, and occasionally oil shale and alum shale. Oil and gas are of importance in the Lower Carboniferous Pocono sandstone of West Virginia and in the Berea grit of Ohio, where brine also occurs.

In the Carboniferous Limestone series, the purer kinds of limestone are used for the manufacture of lime, bleaching powder and similar products, also as a flux in the smelting of iron; some of the less pure varieties are used in making cement. The beds of chert are utilized in the pottery industry, and some of the harder and more crystalline limestones are beautiful marbles, capable of taking a high polish.

The sandstones are used for building, and for millstones and grindstones. Within the Carboniferous rocks, but due to the action of various agencies long after their deposition, are important ore formations; such are the Rio Tinto ores of Spain, the lead and zinc ores and some haematite of the Pennine and Mendip hills and other British localities, and many ore regions in the United States.

References.—For a good general account of the Carboniferous system, see A. Geikie, Text Book of Geology, vol. ii. (4th ed., 1903); and for the American development see T. C. Chamberlin and R. D. Salisbury, Geology, vol. ii. (1906). These two works give abundant references to the literature of the subject. See also, Recent Additions to Geological Literature, published annually by the Geological Society of London since 1893; and Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie (Stuttgart).

 (J. A. H.) 


CARBORUNDUM, a silicide of carbon formed by the action of carbon on sand (silica) at high temperatures, which on account of its great hardness is an important abrasive, and also has possible applications in the metallurgy of iron and steel. Its name was derived from carbon and corundum (a form of alumina), from a mistaken view as to its composition. It was first obtained accidentally in 1891 by Acheson in America, when he was experimenting with the electric furnace in the hope of producing artificial diamonds. The experiments were followed up in an incandescence furnace, which on a larger scale is now employed for the industrial manufacture of the product. A full description of the process has been given in the Journ. Soc. Chem. Industry, 1897, vol. xvi. p. 863. The furnace is rectangular, about 16 ft. long and 5 ft. wide by 5 ft. high, with massive brick end walls 2 ft. thick, through which are built the carbon poles, consisting of bundles of 60 parallel 3-in. carbon rods, each 3 ft. in length, with a copper rod let into the outer end to connect it with a copper cap, which in turn is connected with one of the terminals of the generating dynamo. The spaces between the carbons of the electrode are packed tightly with graphite. In preparing the furnace for use, transverse iron screens are placed temporarily across each end, the space between these and the end walls being rammed with fine coke, and that in the interior is filled to the level of the centre of the carbon poles with the charge, consisting of 34 parts of coke, with 54 of sand, 10 of sawdust and 2 of salt. A longitudinal trench is then formed in the middle, and in this is arranged a cylindrical pile of fragments of coke about ½ in. or more in diameter, so that they form a core, about 21 in. in diameter, connecting the carbon poles in the end walls. Temporary side walls are then built up, the iron screens are removed, and a further quantity of charge is heaped up about 3 ft. above the top of the furnace. An alternating current of about 1700 amperes at 190 volts is now switched on; as the mass becomes heated by the passage of the current the resistance diminishes, and the current is regulated until after about 2 hours or less from starting it is maintained constant at about 6000 amperes and 125 volts. Carbon monoxide is given off and burns freely around the sides and top of the furnace, tinged yellow after a time by the sodium in the salt mixed with the charge. Meanwhile a shrinkage takes place, which is made good by the addition of a further quantity of charge until the operation is complete, usually in about 36 hours from the commencement. The current is then switched off, and the side walls, after cooling for a day, are taken down, the comparatively unaltered charge from the top is removed, and the products are carefully extracted. These consist of the inner carbon core, which at the temperature of the furnace will have been for the most part converted into graphite, then a thin black crust of graphite mixed with carborundum, next a layer of nearly pure crystallized carborundum about a foot in thickness, then grey amorphous carbide of silicon mixed with increasing proportions of unaltered charge, and lastly, on the outside, the portion of the charge which had never reached the temperature necessary for reaction, and which is altered only by the intrusion of salt from the inner part of the furnace. Special precautions are taken in making and breaking the intense current here used (amounting at the end to about 750 kilowatts, or 1000 E.H.P.), a water-regulator consisting of removable iron plates dipped in salt water being used for the purpose. In such a furnace as that above described the charge weighs about 14 tons, the yield of carborundum is about 3 tons, and the expenditure of energy about 3.9 kilowatt-hours (5.2 H.P.-hours) per pound of finished product. The carborundum thus produced is crystalline, greenish, bluish or brownish in colour, sometimes opaque, but often translucent, resisting the action of even the strongest acids, and the action of air or of sulphur at high temperatures. The crude product can therefore be treated with hot sulphuric acid to purify it. In hardness it nearly equals the diamond, and it is used for tool-grinding in the form of vitrified wheels (mixed with powdered porcelain and iron, pressed into shape and fired in a kiln). Carborundum paper, made like emery paper, is now largely used in place of garnet paper in American shoe factories, and finds a market in other directions. The amorphous carbide, which was at first a waste product, has been tried, it is reported, with success as a lining for steel furnaces, as it is said not to be affected by iron or iron oxide at a white heat.  (W. G. M.) 


CARBOY (from the Pers. qarābah, a flagon), a large globular glass vessel or bottle, encased in wicker or iron-work for protection, used chiefly for holding vitriol, nitric acid and other corrosive liquids.


CARBUNCLE (Lat. carbunculus, diminutive of carbo, a glowing coal), in mineralogy, a garnet (q.v.) cut with a convex surface. In medicine the name given to an acute local inflammation of the deeper layers of the skin, followed by sloughing. It is accompanied by great local tension and by constitutional disturbance, and in the early stages the pain is often extremely acute. A hard flattened swelling of a deep-red colour is noticed on the back, face or extremities. This gradually extends until in some instances it may become as large as a dinner-plate. Towards the centre of the mass numerous small openings form on the surface, from which blood and matter escape. Through these openings a yellow slough or “core” of leathery consistence can be seen. Carbuncle is an intense local inflammation caused by septic germs which have in some manner found their way to the part. It is particularly apt to occur in persons whose health is depressed by mental worries, or by such troubles as chronic disease of the kidneys or blood-vessels, or by diabetes. The attack ends in mortification of the affected tissue, and, after much suffering, the core or mortified part slowly comes away. The modern treatment consists in cutting into the inflamed area, scraping out the germ-laden core at the earliest possible moment, and applying germicides. This method relieves the pain at once, materially diminishes the risk of blood-poisoning, and hastens convalescence.  (E. O.*) 


CARCAGÉNTE, or Carcajénte, a town of eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia; near the right bank of the river Júcar, at the junction between the Valencia-Murcia and Carcagénte-Denia railways. Pop. (1900) 12,262. Carcagénte is a picturesque town, of considerable antiquity. Various Roman remains have been found in its neighbourhood. It is surrounded by groves of orange, palm and mulberry trees, and contains many Moorish houses, whose old-fashioned blue-tiled cupolas contrast with the chimneys of the silk mills and linen factories opened in modern times. An important local industry is the cultivation of rice, for which the moist and warm climate of the low-lying Júcar valley is well suited.


CÁRCAR, a town of the province of Cebú, island of Cebú, Philippine Islands, on the Cárcar river near its mouth at the head of Cárcar Bay, 23 m. S.W. of Cebú, the capital. It is connected with Cebú by a railway, and a branch of this railway extending across the island to Barili and Dumanjug was projected in 1908. Cárcar has some coast trade. The surrounding country