The Chemical History of A Candle
'The Chemical History of A Candle' Summary
The lectures described the different zones of combustion in the candle flame and the presence of carbon particles in the luminescent zone. Demonstrations included the production and examination of the properties of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases. An electrolysis cell is demonstrated, first in the electroplating of platinum conductors by dissolved copper, then the production of hydrogen and oxygen gases and their recombination to form water. The properties of water itself are studied, including its expansion while freezing (iron vessels are burst by this expansion), and the relative volume of steam produced when water is vaporized. Techniques for weighing gases on a balance are demonstrated. Atmospheric pressure is described and its effects demonstrated.
Faraday emphasizes that several of the demonstrations and experiments performed in the lectures may be performed by children "at home" and makes several comments regarding proper attention to safety.
The lectures were first printed as a book in 1861.
In 2016, Bill Hammack published a video series of the lectures supplemented by commentary and a companion book. Faraday's ideas are still used as the basis for open teaching about energy in modern primary and secondary schools.
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