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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/208

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

This result is confirmatory of the first.

The audibility of the effect at a particular rate of interruption suggests the explanation that the strip D had a normal rate of vibration of its own.

When the frequency of the interruption of the light corresponded to this, the strip was probably thrown into vibration after the manner of a tuning-fork, in which case a to-and-fro vibration would be propagated down its stem or central support to the strip (A).

This indirectly proves the value of the experiment.

The list of solid substances that have been submitted to experiment in my laboratory is too long to be quoted here, and I shall merely say that we have not yet found one solid body that has failed to become sonorous under proper conditions of experiment.[1]

Experiments with Liquids.—The sounds produced by liquids are much more difficult to observe than those produced by solids. The high absorptive power possessed by most liquids would lead one to expect intense vibrations from the action of intermittent light; but the number of sonorous liquids that have so far been found is extremely limited, and the sounds produced are so feeble as to be heard only by the greatest attention and under the best circumstances of experiment. In the experiments made in my laboratory, a very long test-tube was filled with the liquid under examination, and a flexible rubber tube was slipped over the mouth far enough down to prevent the possibility of any light reaching the vapor above the surface. Precautions were also taken to prevent reflection from the bottom of the test-tube. An intermittent beam of sunlight was then focused upon the liquid in the middle portion of the test-tube by means of a lens of large diameter.

  1. RESULTS.
  2. Clear water
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    No sound audible.
  3. Water discolored by ink
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble sound.
  4. Mercury
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    No sound heard.
  5. Sulphuric ether¤
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble but distinct sound.
  6. Ammonia
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble" but" distinct" sound."
  7. Ammonio-sulphate of copper
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble" but" distinct" sound."
  8. Writing-ink
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble" but" distinct" sound."
  9. Indigo in sulphuric acid
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble" but" distinct" sound."
  10. Chloride of copper¤
    ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
    Feeble" but" distinct" sound."

The liquids distinguished by an asterisk gave the best sounds.

Acoustic vibrations are always much enfeebled in passing from liquids to gases, and it is probable that a form of experiment may be devised which will yield better results by communicating the vibrations of the liquid to the ear through the medium of a solid rod.

  1. Carbon and thin microscope-glass are mentioned in my Boston paper as non-responsive, and powdered chlorate of potash in the communication to the French Academy ("Comptes Rendus," vol. cxl, p. 595). All these substances have since yielded sounds under more careful conditions of experiment.