Oxyhydrogen Flame - Encyclopedia

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OXYHYDROGEN FLAME, the flame attending the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen, and characterized by a very high temperature. Hydrogen gas readily burns in oxygen or air with the formation of water. The quantity of heat evolved, according to Julius Thomsen, is 34,116 calories for each gram of hydrogen burned. This heat-disturbance is quite independent of the mode in which the process is conducted; but the temperature of the flame is dependent on the circumstances under which the process takes place. It obviously attains its maximum in the case of the firing of pure "oxyhydrogen" gas (a mixture of hydrogen with exactly half its volume of oxygen, the quantity it combines with in becoming water, ,German Knall-gas). It becomes less when the "oxyhydrogen" is mixed with excess of one or the other of the two reacting gases, or an inert gas such as nitrogen, because in any such case the same amount of heat spreads over a larger quantity of matter. Many forms of oxyhydrogen lamps have been invented, but the explosive nature of the gaseous mixture rendered them all more or less dangerous. It acquired considerable application in platinum works, this metal being only fusible in the oxyhydrogen flame and the electric furnace; and also for the production of limelight, as in optical (magic) lanterns. But these applications are being superseded by the electric furnace, and electric light.

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