EVERYONE knows that heat can produce motion. That it possesses vast motive-power no one can doubt, in these days when the steam-engines is everywhere so well known.
To heat also are due the vast movements which take place on the earth. It causes the agitations of the atmosphere, the ascension of clouds, the fall of rain and of meteors, the currents of water which channel the surface of the globe, and of which man has thus far employed but a small portion. Even earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are the result of heat.
From this immense reservoir we may draw the moving force necessary for our purposes. Nature, in providing us with combustibles on all sides, has given us the power to produce, at all times and in all places, heat and the impelling power which is the result of it. To develop this power, to appropriate it to our uses, is the object of heat-engines.
The study of these engines is of the greatest interest, their importance is enormous, their use is continually increasing, and they seem destined to produce a great revolution in the civilized world.
Already the steam-engine works our mines, impels our ships, excavates our ports and our rivers, forges iron, fashions wood, grinds grain, spins and weaves our cloths, transports the heaviest burdens, etc. It appears that it must some day serve as a universal motor, and be substituted for animal power, water-falls, and air currents.
Over the first of these motors it has the advantage of economy, over the two others the inestimable advantage that it can be used at all times and places without interruption.
If, some day, the steam-engine shall be so perfected that it can be set up and supplied with fuel at small cost, it will combine all desirable qualities, and will afford to the industrial arts a range the extent of which can scarcely be predicted. It is not merely that a powerful and convenient motor that can be pro- cured and carried anywhere is substituted for the motors already in use, but that it causes rapid extension in the arts m which it is applied, and can even create entirely new arts.
The most signal service that the steam-engine has rendered to England is undoubtedly the revival of the working of the coalmines, which had declined, and threatened to cease entirely, in consequence of the continually increasing difficulty of drainage, and of raising the coal.* We should rank second the benefit to iron manufacture, both by the abundant supply of coal substituted for wood just when the latter had begun to grow scarce,
* It may be
said that coal-mining has increased tenfold
in England since the invention of the steam-engine. It is almost
equally true in regard to the mining of copper, tin, and iron.
The results produced in a half-century by the steam-engine in
the mines of England are to-day paralleled in the gold and silver
mines of the New World--mines of which the working declined from
day to day, principally on account of the insufficiency of the
motors employed in the draining and the extraction of the minerals.
and by the powerful machines of all kinds, the use of which the introduction of the steam-engine has permitted or facilitated. Iron and heat are, as we know, the supporters, the bases, of the mechanic arts. It is doubtful if there be in England a single industrial establishment of which the existence does not depend on the use of these agents, and which does not freely employ them. To take away to-day from England her steam-engines would be to take away at the same time her coal and iron. It would be to dry up all her sources of wealth, to ruin all on which her prosperity depends, in short, to annihilate that colossal power. The destruction of her navy, which she considers her strongest defence, would perhaps be less fatal.
The safe and rapid navigation by steamships may be regarded -as an entirely new art due to the steam-engine. Already this art has permitted the establishment of prompt and regular communications across the arms of the sea, and on the at rivers of the old and new continents. It has made it possible to traverse savage regions where before we could scarcely penetrate. It has enabled us to carry the fruits of civilization over portions of the globe where they would else have been wanting for years. Steam navigation brings nearer together the most distant nations. It tends to unite the nations of the earth as inhabitants of one country. In fact, to lessen the time, the fatigues, the uncertain ties, and the dangers of travel is not this the same as greatly to shorten distances?*
say, to lessen the dangers of journeys.
In fact, although the use of the steam-engine on ships is attended
by some danger which has been greatly exaggerated, this is more
than compensated by the power of following always an appointed
and well-known route, of resisting the force of the winds which
would drive the ship towards the shore, the shoals, or the rocks.
The discovery of the steam-engine owed its birth, like most human inventions, to rude attempts which have been attributed to different persons, while the real author is not certainly known. It is, however, less in the first attempts that the principal discovery consists, than in the successive improvements which have brought steam-engines to the condition in which we find them to-day. There is almost as great a distance between the first apparatus in which the expansive force of steam was displayed and the existing machine, as between the first raft that man ever made and the modern vessel.
If the honor of a discovery belongs to the nation in which it has acquired its growth and all its developments, this honor cannot be here refused to England. Savery, Newcomen, Smeaton, the famous Watt, Woolf, Trevithick, and some other English engineers, are the veritable creators of the steam-engine. It has acquired at their hands all its successive degrees of improvement. Finally, it is natural that an invention should have its birth and especially be developed, be perfected, in that place where its want is most strongly felt.
Notwithstanding the work of all kinds done by steam-engines, notwithstanding the satisfactory condition to which they have been brought to-day, their theory is very little understood, and the attempts to improve them are still directed almost by chance.
The question has often been raised whether the motive power of heat* is unbounded, whether the possible improvements in
* We use here the expression motive power to express
the useful effect that a motor is capable of producing. This effect
can always be likened to the elevation of a weight to a certain
height. It has, as we know, as a measure, the product of the weight
multiplied by the height to which it is raised.
steam-engines have an assignable limit,-a limit which the nature of things will not allow to be passed by any means whatever; or whether, on the contrary, these improvements may be carried on indefinitely. We have long sought, and are seeking to-day, to ascertain whether there are in existence agents preferable to the vapor of water for developing the motive power of heat; whether atmospheric air, for example, would not present in this respect great advantages. We propose now to submit these questions to a deliberate examination.
The phenomenon of the production of motion by heat has not been considered from a sufficiently general point of view. We have considered it only in machines the nature and mode of action of which have not allowed us to take in the whole extent of application of which it is susceptible. In such machines the phenomenon is, in a way, incomplete. It becomes difficult to recognize its principles and study its laws. In order to consider in the most general way the principle of the production of motion by heat, it must be considered independently of any mechanism or any particular agent. It is necessary to establish principles applicable not only to steam-engines* but to all imaginable heat-engines, whatever the working substance and whatever the method by which it is operated. Machines which do not receive their motion from heat, those which have for a motor the force of men or of animals, a waterfall, an air current, etc., can be studied even to their smallest details by the mechanical theory. All cases are foreseen, all imaginable movements are referred to these general principles,
* We distinguish here the
steam-engine from the heat-engine in general. The latter may make
use of any agent whatever, of the vapor of water or of any
other, to develop the motive power of heat.
firmly established, and applicable under all circumstances. This is the character of a complete theory. A similar theory is evidently needed for heat-engines. We shall have it only when the laws of Physics shall be extended enough, generalized enough, to make known beforehand all the effects of heat acting in a determined manner on any body.
We will suppose in what follows at least a superficial knowledge of the different parts which compose an ordinary steam-engine; and we consider it unecessary to explain what are the furnace, boiler, steam-cylinder, piston, condenser, etc.
The production of motion in steam-engines is always accompanied by a circumstance on which we should fix our attention. This circumstance is the re-establishing of equilibrium in the caloric; that is, its passage from a body in which the temperature is more or less elevated, to another in which it is lower. What happens in fact in a steam-engine actually in motion? The caloric developed in the furnace by the effect of the combustion traverses the walls of the boiler, produces steam, and in some way incorporates itself with it. The latter carrying it away, takes it first into the cylinder, where it performs some function, and from thence into the condenser, where it is liquefied by contact with the cold water which it encounters there. Then, as a final result, the cold water of the condenser takes possession of the caloric developed by the combustion. It is heated by the intervention of the steam as if it had been placed directly over the furnace. The steam is here only a means of transporting the caloric. It fills the same office as in the heating of baths by steam, except that in this case its motion is rendered useful.
We easily recognize in the operations that we have just described the re-establishment of equilibrium in the caloric, its passage from a more or less heated body to a cooler one. The first of these bodies, in this case, is the heated air of the furnace; the second is the condensing water. The re-establishment of equilibrium of the caloric takes place between them, if not completely, at least partially, for on the one hand the heated air, after having performed its function, having passed round the boiler, goes out through the chimney with a temperature much below that which it had acquired as the effect of combustion; and on the other hand, the water of the condenser, after having liquefied the steam, leaves the machine with a temperature higher than that with which it entered.
The production of motive power is then due in steam-engines not to an actual consumption of caloric, but to its transportation from a warm body to a cold body, that is, to its re-establishment of equilibrium-an equilibrium considered as destroyed by any cause whatever, by chemical action, such as combustion, or by any other. We shall see shortly that this principle is applicable to any machine set in motion by heat.
According to this principle, the production of heat alone is not sufficient to give birth to the impelling power: it is necessary that there should also be cold; without it, the heat would be useless. And in fact, if we should find about us only bodies as hot as our furnaces, how can we condense steam? What should we do with it if once produced? We should not presume that we might discharge it into the atmosphere, as is done in some engines ;* the
*Certain engines at high pressure throw the steam
out into the atmosphere instead of the condenser. They are used
specially in places where it would he difficult to procure a stream
of cold water sufficient to produce condensation.
atmosphere would not receive it. It does receive it under the actual condition of things, only because it fulfils the office of a vast condenser, because it is at a lower temperature; otherwise it would soon become fully charged, or rather would be already saturated.*
Wherever there exists a difference of temperature, wherever it has been possible for the equilibrium of the caloric to be re-established, it is possible to have also the production of impelling power. Steam is a means of realizing this power, but it is not the only one. All substances in nature can be employed for this purpose, all are susceptible of changes in volume, of successive contractions and dilatations, through the alternation of heat and cold. All are capable of overcoming in their changes of volume certain resistances, and of thus developing the impelling power. A solid body-a metallic bar for example- alternately heated and cooled increases and diminishes in length, and can move bodies fastened to its ends. A liquid alternately heated and cooled increases and diminishes in volume, and can overcome obstacles of greater or less size, opposed to its dilatation. An
* The existence of water in the liquid state here necessarily assumed, since without it the steam-engine could not be fed, supposes the existence of a pressure capable of preventing this water from vaporizing, consequently of a pressure equal or superior to the tension of vapor at that temperature. If such a pressure were not exerted by the atmospheric air, there would be instantly produced a quantity of steam sufficient to give rise to that tension, and it would be necessary always to overcome this pressure in order to throw out the steam from the engines into the new atmosphere. Now this is evidently equivalent to overcoming the tension which the steam retains after its condensation, as effected by ordinary means.
If a very high temperature existed at the surface
of our globe, as it seems certain that it exists in its interior,
all the waters of the ocean would be in a state of vapor in the
atmosphere, and no portion of it would be found in a liquid state.
aeriform fluid is susceptible of considerable change of volume by variations of temperature. If it is enclosed in an expansible space, such as a cylinder provided with a piston, it will produce movements of great extent. Vapors of all substances capable of passing into a gaseous condition, as of alcohol, of mercury, of sulphur, etc., may fulfill the same office as vapor of water. The latter, alternately heated and cooled, would produce motive power in the shape of permanent gases, that is, without ever returning to a liquid state. Most of these substances have been proposed, many even have been tried, although up to this time perhaps without remarkable success.
We have shown that in steam-engines the motive power is due to a re-establishment of equilibrium in the caloric; this takes place not only for steam-engines, but also for every heat-engine-that is, for every machine of which caloric is the motor. Heat can evidently be a cause of motion only by virtue of the changes of volume or of form which it produces in bodies.
These changes and not caused by uniform temperature, but rather by alternations of heat and cold. Now to heat any substance whatever requires a body warmer than the one to be heated; to cool it requires a cooler body. We supply caloric to the first of these bodies that we may transmit it to the second by means of the intermediary substance. This is to re-establish, or at least to endeavor to re-establish, the equilibrium of the caloric.
It is natural to ask here this curious and important
question: Is the motive power of heat invariable in quantity,
or does it vary with the agent employed to realize it as the intermediary
substance, selected as the subject of action of the heat?
It is clear that this question can be asked only in regard to a given quantity of caloric,* the difference of the temperatures also being given. We take, for example, one body A kept at a temperature of 1000 and another body B kept at a temperature of 00, and ask what quantity of motive power can be produced by the passage of a given portion of caloric (for example, as much as is necessary to melt a kilogram of ice) from the first of these bodies to the second. We inquire whether this quantity of motive power is necessarily limited, whether it varies with the substance employed to realize it, whether the vapor of water offers in this respect more or less advantage than the vapor of alcohol, of mercury, a permanent gas, or any other substance. We will try to answer these questions, availing ourselves of ideas already established.
We have already remarked upon this self-evident fact, or fact which at least appears evident as soon as we reflect on the changes of volume occasioned by heat: wherever there exists difference of temperature, motive-power can be produced. Reciprocally, wherever we can consume this power, it is possible to produce a difference of temperature, it is possible to occasion destruction of equilibrium in the caloric. Are not percussion and the friction of bodies actually means of raising their temperature, of making it reach spontaneously a higher degree than that of the surrounding bodies, and consequently of producing a destruction of equi-
* It is considered unnecessary to explain here
what is quantity of caloric or quantity of heat (for we employ
these two expressions indifferently), or to describe how we measure
these quantities by the calorimeter. Nor will we explain what
is meant by latent heat, degree of temperature, specific heat,
etc. The reader should be familiarized with these terms through
the study of the elementary treatises of physics or of chemistry.
librium in the caloric, where equilibrium previously existed? It is a fact proved by experience, that the temperature of gaseous fluids is raised by compression and lowered by rarefaction. This is a sure method of changing the temperature of bodies, and destroying the equilibrium of the caloric as many times as may be desired with the same substance. The vapor of water employed-in an inverse manner to that in which it is used in steam-enginess can also be regarded as a means of destroying the equilibrium of the caloric. To be convinced of this we need but to observe closely the manner in which motive power is developed by the action of heat on vapor of water. Imagine two bodies A and B, kept each at a constant temperature, that of A being higher than that of B. These two bodies, to which we can give or from which we can remove the heat without causing their temperatures to vary, exercise the functions of two unlimited reservoirs of caloric. We will call the first the furnace and the second the refrigerator.
If we wish to produce motive power by carrying a certain quantity of heat from the body A to the body B we shall proceed as follows:
(1)To borrow caloric from the body A to make steam with it-that is, to make this body fulfill the function of a furnace, or rather of the metal composing the boiler in ordinary engines-we here assume that the steam is produced at the same temperature as the body A.
(2)The steam having been received in a space capable of expansion, such as a cylinder furnished with a piston, to increase the volume of this space, and consequently also that of the steam. Thus rarefied, the temperature will fall spontaneously, as occurs with all elastic fluids; admit that the rarefaction may be continued to the point where the temperature becomes precisely that of the body B.
(3)To condense the steam by putting it in contact with the body B, and at the same time exerting on it a constant pressure until it is entirely liquefied. The body B fills here the place of the injection-water in ordinary engines, with this difference, that it condenses the vapor without mingling with it, and with-out changing its own temperature.*
The operations which we have just described might
have been performed in an inverse direction and order. There is
nothing no prevent forming vapor with the caloric of the body
B, and at the temperature of that body, compressing it
in such a way as to make it acquire the temperature of the body
A, finally condensing it by contact with this latter body,
and continuing the compression to complete liquefaction.
* We may perhaps wonder here that the body B being at the same temperature as the steam is able to condense it. Doubtless this is not strictly possible, but the slightest difference of temperature will determine the condensation, which suffices to establish the justice of our reasoning. It is thus that, in the differential calculus, it is sufficient that we can conceive the neglected quantities indefinitely reducible in proportion to the quantities retained in the equations, to make certain of the exact result.
The body B condenses the steam without changing its own temperatur this results from our supposition. We have admitted that this body may be maintained at a constant temperature. We take away the caloric as the steam furnishes it. This is the condition in which the metal of the condenser is found when the liquefaction of the steam is accomplished by applying cold water externally, as was formerly done in several engines. Similarly, the water of a reservoir can be maintained at a constant level if the liquid flows out at one side as it flows in at the other.
One could even conceive the bodies A and
B maintaining the same temperature, although they might
lose or gain certain quantities of heat. If, for example, the
body A were a mass of steam ready to become liquid, and
the body B a mass of ice ready to melt, these bodies might,
as we know, furnish or receive caloric without thermometric change.
By our first operations there would have been at the same time production of motive power and transfer of caloric from the body A to the body B. By the inverse operations there is at the same time expenditure of motive power and return of caloric from the body B to the body A. But if we have acted in each case on the same quantity of vapor, if there is produced no loss either of motive power or caloric, the quantity of motive power produced in the first place will be equal to. that which would have been expended in the second, and the quantity of caloric passed in the first case from the body A to the body B would be equal to the quantity which passes back again in the second from the body B to the body A; so that an indefinite number of alternative operations of this sort could be carried on without in the end having either produced motive power or transferred caloric from one body to the other.
Now if there existed any means of using heat preferable
to those which we have employed, that is, if it were possible
by any method whatever to make the caloric produce a quantity
of motive power greater than we have made it produce by our first
series of operations, it would suffice to divert a portion of
this power in order by the method just indicated to make the caloric
of the body B return to the body A from the refrigerator
to the furnace, to restore the initial conditions, and thus to
be ready to commence again an operation precisely similar to the
former, and so on: this would be not only perpetual motion, but
an unlimited creation of motive power without consumption either
of caloric or of any other agent whatever. Such a creation is
entirely contrary to ideas now accepted, to the laws of mechanics
and of sound physics. It is inadmissible. We should then conclude
that the maximum of motive power resulting from the
employment of steam is also the maximum of motive power realizable by any means whatever. We will soon give a second more vigorous demonstration of this theory. This should be considered only as an approximation.
We have a right to ask, in regard to the proposition just enunciated, the following questions: What is the sense of the word maximum here? By what sign can it be known that this maximum is attained? By what sign can it be known whether the steam is employed to greatest possible advantage in the production of motive power?
Since every re-establishment of equilibrium in the
caloric may be the cause of the production of motive power, every
re-establishment of equilibrium which shall be accomplished without
production of this power should be considered as an actual loss.
Now, very little reflection would show that all change of temperature
which is not due to a change of volume of the bodies can be only
a useless re-establishment of equilibrium in the caloric.* The
necessary condition of the maximum is, then, that in the bodies
employed to realize the motive power of heat there should not
occur any change of temperature which may not be due to a change
of volume. Reciprocally, every time that this condition is
fulfilled the maximum will be attained. This principle
should never be lost sight of in the construction of heat-engines;
it is its fundamental basis. If it cannot be strictly observed,
it should at least be departed from as little as possible.
* We assume here no chemical action between the
bodies employed to realize the motive power of heat. The chemical
action which takes place in the furnace is, in some sort, a preliminary
action,-an operation destined not to produce immediately motive
power, but to destroy the equilibrium of the caloric, to produce
a difference of temperature which may finally give rise to motion.
Every change of temperature which is not due to a change of volume or to chemical action (an action that we provisionally suppose not to occur here) is necessarily due to the direct passage of the caloric from a more or less heated body to a colder body. This passage occurs mainly by the contact of bodies of different temperatures; hence such contact should be avoided as much as possible. It cannot probably be avoided entirely, but it should at least be so managed that the bodies brought in contact with each other differ as little as possible in temperature. When we just now supposed, in our demonstration, the caloric of the body A employed to form steam, this steam was considered as generated at the temperature of the body A; thus the contact took place only between bodies of equal temperatures; the change of temperature occurring afterwards in the steam was due to dilatation, consequently to a change of volume. Finally, condensation took place also without contact of bodies of different temperatures. It occurred while exerting a constant pressure on the steam brought in contact with the body B of the same temperature as itself. The conditions for a maximum are thus found to be fulfilled. In reality the operation cannot proceed exactly as we have assumed. To determine the passage of caloric from one body to another, it is necessary that there should be an excess of temperature in the first, but this excess may be supposed as slight as we please. We can regard it as insensible in theory, without thereby destroying the exactness of the arguments.
A more substantial objection may be made to our demonstration, thus: When we borrow caloric from the body A to produce steam, and when this steam is afterwards condensed by its contact with the body B, the water used to form it, and which we considered at first as being of the temperature of the body A, is found at the close of the operation at the temperature of the body B. It has become cool. If we wish to begin again an operation similar to the first, if we wish to develop a new quantity of motive power with the same instrument, with the same steam, it is necessary first to re-establish the original condition-to restore the water to the original temperature. This can undoubtedly be done by at once putting it again in contact with the body A ; but there is then contact between bodies of different temperatures, and loss of motive power.* It would be impossible to execute the inverse operation, that is, to return to the body A the caloric employed to raise the temperature of the liquid. This difficulty may be removed by supposing the difference of temperature between the body A and the body B indefinitely small. The quantity of heat necessary to raise the liquid to its former temperature will be also indefinitely small and unimportant relatively to that which is necessary to produce steam-a quantity always limited.
The proposition found elsewhere demonstrated for the case in which the difference between the temperatures of the two
*This kind of loss is
found in all steam-engines. In fact, the
water destined to feed the boiler is always cooler than the water
which it already contains. There occurs between them a useless
re-establishment of equilibrium of caloric. We are easily convinced,
a posteriori, that this re-establishment of equilibrium
causes a loss of motive power if we reflect that it would have
been possible to previously heat the feed-water by using it as
condensing-water in a small accessory engine, when the steam drawn
from the large boiler might have been used, and where the condensation
might be produced at a temperature intermediate between that of
the boiler and that of the principal condenser. The power produced
by the small engine would have cost no loss of heat, since all
that which had been used would have returned into the boiler with
the water of condensation.
bodies is indefinitely small, may be easily extended to the general case. In fact, if it operated to produce motive power by the passage of calorie from the body A to the body Z, the temperature of this latter body being very different from that of the former, we should imagine a series of bodies B, C, D... of temperatures intermediate between those of the bodies A, Z, and selected so that the differences from A to B, from B to C, etc., may all be indefinitely small. The caloric coming from A would not arrive at Z till after it had passed through the bodies B, C, D, etc., and after having developed in each of these stages maximum motive power. The inverse operations would here be entirely possible, and the reasoning of page 53 would be strictly applicable.
According to established principles at the present time, we can compare with sufficient accuracy the motive power of heat to that of a waterfall. Each has a maximum that we cannot exceed, whatever may be, on the one hand, the machine which is acted upon by the water, and whatever, on the other hand, the substance acted upon by the heat. The motive power of a waterfall depends on its height and on the quantity of the liquid; the motive. power of heat depends also on the quantity of caloric used, and on what may be termed, on what in fact we will call, the height of its fall,* that is to say, the difference of temperature of the bodies between which the exchange of caloric is made. In the waterfall the motive power is exactly proportional to the difference of level between the higher and lower reservoirs. In the fall of caloric the motive power undoubtedly increases with the difference of temperature between the warm
* The matter here dealt with being entirely new,
we are obliged to employ expressions not in use as yet, and which
perhaps are less clear than is desirable.
and the cold bodies; but we do not know whether it is proportional to this difference. We do not know, for example, whether the fall of caloric from 100 to 50 degrees furnishes more or less motive power than the fall of this same caloric from 50 to zero. It is a question which we propose to examine hereafter.
We shall give here a second demonstration of the fundamental proposition enunciated on page 56, and present this proposition under a more general form than the one already given.
When a gaseous fluid is rapidly compressed its temperature rises. It falls, on the contrary, when it is rapidly dilated. This is one of the facts best demonstrated by experiment. We will take it for the basis of our demonstration.
If, when the temperature of a gas has been raised
by compression, we wish to reduce it to its former temperature
without subjecting its volume to new changes, some of its caloric
must be removed. This caloric might have been removed in proportion
as pressure was applied, so that the temperature of the gas would
remain constant. Similarly, if the gas is rarefied we can avoid
lowering the temperature by supplying it with a certain quantity
of caloric. Let us call the caloric employed at such times, when
no change of temperature occurs, caloric due to
change of volume. This denomination does not indicate that
the caloric appertains to the volume: it does not appertain to
it any more than to pressure, and might as well be called caloric
due to change of pressure. We do not know what laws
it follows relative to the variations in volume: it is possible
that its quantity changes either with the nature of the gas, its
density, or its temperature. Experiment has taught us nothing
on this subject.
It has only shown us that this caloric is developed in greater or less quantity by the compression of the elastic fluids.
This preliminary idea being established, let us imagine an elastic fluid, atmospheric air for example, shut up in a cylindrical vessel, abcd (Fig. 1), provided with a movable diaphragm or piston Cd. Let there be also two bodies, A and B, kept each at a constant temperature, that of A being higher than that of B. Let us picture to ourselves now the series of operations which are to be described:
(1) Contact of the body A with the air enclosed in the space abcd or with the wall of this space -a wall that we will suppose to transmit the caloric readily. The air becomes by such contact of the same temperature as the body A; cd is the actual position of the piston.
(2) The piston gradually rises and takes the position
ef. The body A is all the time
in contact with the air, which is thus kept at a constant temperature during the rarefaction. The body A furnishes the caloric necessary to keep the temperature constant.
(3) The body A is removed, and the air is
then no longer in contact with any body capable of furnishing
it with caloric. The piston meanwhile continues to move, and passes
from the position ef to the position gh. The air
is rarefied without receiving caloric, and its temperature falls.
Let us imagine that it falls thus till it becomes equal to that
of the body B; at this instant the piston stops, remaining
at the position gh.
(4) The air is placed in contact with the body B; it is compressed by the return of the piston as it is moved from the position gh to the position cd. This air remains, however, at a constant temperature because of its contact with the body B, to which it yields its caloric.
(5) The body B is removed, and the compression of the air is continued, which being then isolated, its temperature rises. The compression is continued till the air acquires the temperature of the body A. The piston passes during this time from the position cd to the position ik.
(6) The air is again placed in contact with the body A. The piston returns from the position ik to the position ef; the ternperature remains unchanged.
(7) The step described under number 3 is renewed, then successively the steps 4, 5, 6, 3, 4, 5,6,3,4,5;and so on.
In these various operations the piston is subject to an effort of greater or less magnitude, exerted by the air enclosed in the cylinder; the elastic force of this air varies as much by reason of the changes in volume as of changes in temperature. But it should be remarked that with equal volumes, that is, for the similiar positions of the piston, the temperature is higher during the movements of dilatation than during the movements of compression. During the former the elastic force of the air is found to be greater, and consequently the quantity of motive power produced by the movements of dilatation is more considerable than that consumed to produce the movements of compression. Thus we should obtain an excess of motive power-an excess which we could employ for any purpose whatever. The air, then, has served as a heat-engine; we have, in fact, employed it in the most advantageous manner possible, for no useless re-establishment of equilibrium has been effected in the caloric.
All the above described operations may be executed in an inverse sense and order. Let us imagine that, after the sixth period, that is to say the piston having arrived at the position we cause it to return to the position ik, and that at the same time we keep the air in contact with the body A. The caloric furnished by this body during the sixth period would return to its source, that is, to the body A, and the conditions would then become precisely the same as they were at the end of the fifth period. If we now take away the body A, and if we cause the piston to move from ef to cd, the temperature of the air will diminish as many degrees as it increased during the fifth period, and will become that of the body B. We may evidently continue a series of operations the inverse of those already described. It is only necessary under the same circumstances to execute for each period a movement of dilatation instead of a movement of compression, and reciprocally.
The result of these first operations has been the production of a certain quantity of motive power and the. removal of caloric from the body A to the body B. The result of the inverse operations is the consumption of the motive power produced and the return of the caloric from the body B to the body A; so that these two series of operations annul each other, after a fashion, one neutralizing the other.
The impossibility of making the caloric produce a
greater quantity of motive power than that which we obtained from
it by our first series of operations, is now easily proved. It
is demonstrated by reasoning very similar to that employed on
56; the reasoning will here be even more exact. The air which we have used to develop the motive power is restored at the end of each cycle of operations exactly to the state in which it was at first found, while, as we have already remarked, this would not be precisely the case with the vapor of water.*
We have chosen atmospheric air as the instrument which should develop the motive power of heat, but it is evident that the reasoning would have been the same for all other gaseous substances, and even for all other bodies susceptible of change of temperature through successive contractions and dilatations, which comprehends all natural substances, or at least all those which are adapted to realize the motive power of heat. Thus we are led to establish this general proposition:
The motive power of heat is independent of the agents employed to realize it; its quantity is fired solely by the temperatures of the bodies between which is effected, finally, the transfer of the caloric.
We must understand here that each of the methods of developing motive power attains the perfection of which it is susceptible. This condition is found to be fulfilled if, as we remarked above, there is produced in the body no other change of tem-
* We tacitly assume in our
demonstration, that when a body has experienced any changes, and
when after a certain number of transformations it returns to precisely
its original state, that is, to that state considered in respect
to density, to temperature, to mode of aggregation-let us suppose,
I say, that this body is found to contain the same quantity of
heat that it contained at first, or else that the quantities of
heat absorbed or set free in these different transformations are
exactly compensated. This fact has never been called in question.
It was first admitted without reflection, and verified afterwards
in many cases by experiments with the calorimeter. To deny it
would be to overthrow the whole theory of heat to which it serves
as a basis. For the rest, we may say in passing, the main principles
on which the theory of heat rests require the most careful examination.
Many experimental facts appear almost inexplicable in the present
state of this theory.
perature than that due to change of volume, or, what is the same thing in other words, if there is no contact between bodies of sensibly different temperatures.
Different methods of realizing motive power may be taken, as in the employment of different substances, or the use of the same substance in two different states-for example, of a gas at two different densities.
This leads us naturally to those interesting researches on the aeriform fluids-researches which lead us also to new results in regard to the motive power of heat, and give us the means of verifying, in some particular cases, the fundamental proposition above stated.*
We readily see that our demonstration would have been simplified by supposing the temperatures of the bodies A and B to differ very little. Then the movements of the piston being slight during the periods 3 and 5, these periods might have been suppressed without influencing sensibly the production of motive power. A very little change of volume should suffice in fact to produce a very slight change of temperature, and this slight change of volume may be neglected in presence of that of the periods 4 and 6, of which the extent is unlimited.
If we suppress periods 3 and 5, in the series of operations above described, it is reduced to the following:
(1) Contact of the gas confined in abcd (Fig. 2) with the body A, passage of the piston from cd to ef.
(2) Removal of the body A, contact of the gas confined
in abef with tile body B, return of the piston from ef
(3) Removal of the body B, contact of the gas with the body A, passage of the piston from cd to ef, that is, repetition of the first period, and so on.
The motive power resulting from the ensemble of operations 1 and 2 will evidently be the difference between that which is produced by the expansion of the gas while it is at the temperature of the body A, and that which is consumed to compress this gas while it is at the temperature of the body B.
Let us suppose that operations 1 and 2 be performed on two gases of
different chemical natures but un-
der the same pressure- under at
mospheric pressure, for example.
These two gases will behave exactly
alike under the same circumstances,
that is, their expansive forces, originally equal, will remain always
equal, whatever may be the variations of volume and of temperature, provided these variations are the same in both. This results obviously from the laws of Mariotte and MM. Gay- Lussac and Dalton-laws common to all elastic fluids, and in virtue of which the same relations exist for all these fluids between the volume, the expansive force, and the temperature.
Since two different gases at the same temperature
and under the same pressure should behave alike under the same
circumstances, if we subjected them both to the operations above
described, they should give rise to equal quantities of motive
Now this implies, according to the fundamental proposition that we have established, the employment of two equal quantities of caloric; that is, it implies that the quantity of caloric transferred from the body A to the body B is the same, whichever gas is used.
The quantity of caloric transferred from the body A to the body B is evidently that which is absorbed by the gas in its expansion of volume, or that which this gas relinquishes during compression. We are led, then, to establish the following proposition:
When a gas passes without change of temperature from one definite volume and pressure to another volume and another pressure equally definite, the quantity of caloric absorbed or relinquished is always the same, whatever may be the nature of the gas chosen as the subject of the experiment.
Take, for example, 1 litre of air at the temperature of 1000 and under the pressure of one atmosphere. If we double the volume of this air and wish to maintain it at the temperature of 1000, a certain quantity of heat must be supplied to it. Now this quantity will be precisely the same if, instead of operating on the air, we operate upon carbonic-acid gas, upon nitrogen, upon hydrogen, upon vapor of water, or of alcohol, that is, if we double the volume of 1 litre of these gases taken at the temperature of 1000 and under atmospheric pressure.
It will be the same thing in the inverse sense if,
instead of doubling the volume of gas, we reduce it one half by
compression. The quantity of heat that the elastic fluids set
free or absorb in their changes of volume has never been measured
by any direct experiment, and doubtless such an experiment would
very difficult, but there exists a datum which is very nearly its equivalent. This has been furnished by the theory of sound. It deserves much confidence because of the exactness of the conditions which have led to its establishment. It consists in this:
Atmospheric air should rise one degree Centigrade when by sudden compression it experiences a reduction of volume of 1/116.*
Experiments on the velocity of sound having been made in air under the pressure of 760 millimetres of mercury and at the temperature of 60, it is only to these two circumstances that our datum has reference. We will, however, for greater facility, refer it to the temperature 00, which is nearly the same.
Air compressed 1/116, and thus heated one degree, differs from air heated directly one degree only in its density. The primitive volume being supposed to be V, the compression of 1/116 reduces it to
Direct heating under constant pressure should, according to the rule of M. Gay-Lussac, increase the volume of air 1/267 above what it would be at 00: 50 the air is, on the one hand, reduced to the volume
V - V/116; on the other, it is increased to V + V/267.
The difference between the quantities of heat which the air possesses in both cases is evidently the quantity employed to raise it directly one degree; so then the quantity of heat that the air would absorb in passing from the volume V - V/116 to
* M. Poisson, to whom this figure is due, has
shown that it accords very well with the result of an experiment
of MM. Clement and Desormes on the return of air into a vacuum,
or rather, into air slightly rarefied. It also accords very nearly
with results found by MM. Gay-Lussac and Welter. (See note, p.78.)
the volume V + V/267 is equal to that which is required to raise it one degree.
Let us suppose now that, instead of heating one degree the air subjected to a constant pressure and able to dilate freely, we in-close it within an invariable space, and that in this condition we cause it to rise one degree in temperature. The air thus heated one degree will differ from the air compressed 1/116 only by its 1/116 greater volume. So then the quantity of heat that the air would set free by a reduction of volume of 1/116 is equal to that which would be required to raise it one degree Centigrade under constant volume. As the differences between the volumes V -V/116, V, and V + V/267 are small relatively to the volumes themselves, we may regard the quantities of heat absorbed by the air in passing from the first of these volumes to the second, and from the first to the third, as sensibly proportional to the changes of volume. We are then led to the establishment of the following relation:
The quantity of heat necessary to raise one degree air under constant pressure is to the quantity of heat necessary to raise one degree the same air under constant volume, in the ratio of the numbers 1/116 + 1/267 to 1/116; or, multiplying both by 116 x 267, in the ratio of the numbers 267 + 116 to 267.
This, then, is the ratio which exists between the
capacity of air for heat under constant pressure and its capacity
under constant volume. If the first of these two capacities is
expressed by unity, the other will be expressed by the number267/
(267 + 116), or very nearly 0.700; their difference, 1 - 0.700
or 0.300, will evidently express the quantity of heat which will
increase of volume in the air when it is heated one degree under constant pressure.
According to the law of MM. Gay-Lussac and Dalton, this increase of volume would be the same for all other gases; according to the theory demonstrated on page 78, the heat absorbed by these equal increases of volume is the same for all the elastic fluids, which leads to the establishment of the following proposition:
The difference between specific heat under constant pressure and specific heat under constant volume is the same for all gases.
It should be remarked here that all the gases are considered as taken under the same pressure, atmospheric pressure for example, and that the specific heats are also measured with reference to the volumes.
It is a very easy matter now for us to prepare a
table of the specific heat of gases under constant volume, from
the knowledge of their specific heats under constant pressure.
Here is the table: