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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/375

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361
EFFECTS OF VAGRANT ELECTRICITY.

the earth. The cost of arriving at this condition is prohibitive, and the improved track return is, and always must be, a palliative merely, not a cure.

Assuming, then, that under the most favorable character of electric-railway construction some of the current may be expected to stray from the straight and narrow path, it behooves us to consider how it may best be cared for in order that it may not cause electrolysis. Since corrosion of this nature occurs only at those points where electricity leaves the metal, one might suppose that the attachment of a conducting wire to the affected part would result in the harmless carrying away of the current. In isolated cases, in small towns, such a plan might accomplish the desired result. It is open to the objection, however, that it in a measure legalizes the conveyance of electricity on conductors other than those designed for the purpose.

PSM V56 D0375 Lead pipe showing eight month electrolytic action.png

Lead Service Pipe showing the Effects of Eight Months' Electrolytic Action, and clearly illustrating the Fact that Damage occurs only where the Electricity leaves the Conductor. The interior surface Is unattacked.

In larger towns, with more than one power house and with car lines radiating from and circumscribing the business center, the attachment of conducting wires entails a ceaseless disturbance of the electrical equilibrium, curing the evil in spots and developing new danger points. Furthermore, these connections tend to decrease the resistance of the total illegitimate return, thereby