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from jeoparding their own safety, by returning to the old practice of filling the holes with fragments of stones and bricks, driven in with violence above the powder. It appeared to be important that the doubts of the workmen should be put at rest, and that several practical questions, connected with the use of sand, in blasting, should be solved, and it was the intention of Colonel Totten, the superintending engineer, that experiments should be made for these purposes. This intention was confirmed by the appearance, in the "Journal of the Royal Institution, and in the "American Journal of Science,” of brief notices, of a paper describing some interesting experiments on the flow and pressure of sand, which had been made in Europe. I was accordingly directed to institute a series of trials, having for their object, to determine the degree and nature of the resistance offered by sand when it is attempted to force it through a tube by direct pressure, and it was intended, at the same time, to investigate, more thoroughly, some of the properties of this substance which were developed in the European experiments just mentioned.

The experiments made in consequence of these instructions were prosecuted at distant intervals of leisure during the years 1829 and 1830, but they were interrupted before all had been accomplished, which had been originally designed; nevertheless, the results obtained were interesting, and it is thought that a brief account of them may be acceptable to the readers of your Journal.

Having, subsequently to making the experiments, procured, through the kindness of my friend, Professor A. D. Bache, a copy, in French, of the original paper above referred to, which bas been several times re-published in Europe, I have translated it at length, from the “ Annales de Chimie et de Physique,” vol. XL, page 159, and prefix the translation to the summary of my own investigations.

TRANSLATION. Letter of M. Huber Burnand, to Professor Prevost, on the flow and

pressure of sand. [M. Huber Burnand, two years since, presented to the Society of Physics and Natural History of Geneva, an anemometer, in which the force and duration of the wind, were measured by the quantity of sand which escaped from a variable opening, proportioned in size to the force which it was proposed to measure. On this subject, M. Prevost proposed the following question. Does not the sand in its flow, correspond in a certain degree with a liquid, and is not its discharge in consequence, more rapid, as the head in the vessel which contains it is greater? He indicated at the same time, the further researches which might be made as to the mode of action of the sand, in regard to the pressure which it exerts. Such is the origin and motive of the experiments submitted by M. Burnand to M. Prevost in this letter, which has been kindly communicated to us for publication.]

By preliminary trials, I ascertained that the two following precautions are necessary to obtain a tolerably regular flow of sand. First, it is indispensable that the sand should be sifted with the greatest care, but that it should not be as fine as flour. The sand used by founders would be too fine for this purpose; its fall would be irregular and would be frequently interrupted without any assigoable cause. If, instead of this, we take the sand used in making tiles, and carefully sift it through a cotton gauze, the holes of which are produced by a web, which presents thirty-eight threads

by forty-five in the space of one square inch, we shall find it to flow with the greatest facility. The second condition necessary to the uninterrupted flow of the sand, is that the opening should have a diameter of at least 1 of an inch.

These first questions settled, I could proceed to the researches which I had in view. For this purpose, I had made two wooden boxes, one thirty-one inches high, with a bottom twelve inches square, and another forty-seven inches high, with a bottom only four inches square. They were open at the top, and provided at the bottom with four small boards, sliding in grooves disposed in the form of a cross, so as to permit the aperture to be widened or lengthened at pleasure. The slides were made thin,so that the flow should not be affected by the thickness of the wood, a circumstance the inconveniences of which, I had already discovered. These two boxes were raised on four legs, for the convenience of experimenting, and I procured an excellent stop watch to ensure accuracy in the results. The volumes were measured in a graduated glass tube, and I had also obtained a very sensible balance, with very exact metrical decimal weights. I must add that all my trials were repeated several times, and that I had acquired by long practice, such skill in these experiments, that an error of a quarter of a second in time, would have been detected in the results.

In the most delicate experiments, I introduced metallic slides graduated to looths. of an inch, instead of the wooden ones: they were however, still by no means as exact as was desirable.

I shall divide my researches into two parts; those which have for their special object the flowing of sand, and those which refer more particularly to its pressure, as serving to explain the phenomena ascertained in relation to the first subject.

1. The flow of Sand. 1. The quantity of sand which flowed in a given time from a given opening, was absolutely the same, both by volume and weight, whatever the height of the sand in the box at the commencement of the experiment There were nevertheless, occasional variations, more or less, of two or three grammes.* They were caused, most frequently, by the difficulty of introducing and withdrawing, at the proper moment, the vessel which was used to receive the sand. The errors compensated for each other, and disappeared when quantities as great as from four to five hundred grammes were employed. Three minutes were ordinarily employed in an experiment. The quantities obtained during the consecutive ninety seconds, were weigbed, and when the weights were equal we called them accurate.

The weights were placed together, and compared afterwards with others obtained in the same manner, with columns of sand of ten times the height. The results were always perfectly alike.

2. The quantity of sand flowing through a hole from th. to isth. of an inch wide, was always in direct proportion to the length of the opening, a fact which is susceptible of very useful applications in several Philosophical instruments. But the least variation in the breadth of the opening, caused in the quantity of sand flowing out, an increase, which exceeded the simple ratio of the surfaces of the orifice, as far, at least, as I could judge with the imperfect means which were at my disposal.

3. The sand escaping through openings in the side of the box, flow

*A Gramme is about 15} grains. Tr.


ed with the same velocity whatever the height of the colump was. But if the holes were placed horizontally, and had not a vertical dimension about equal to the thickness of the board, not a single grain of sand fell from them, whatever its height in the box.

4. Sand poured into one branch of a tube bent twice at right angles, does not rise in the opposite branch as a liquid does; it only extends a very small distance from the elbow into the horizontal part.

5. Whatever may be the pressure to which sand contained in a box is subjected, it does not influence in any manner, the quantity which flows out through a given opening situated at the bottom of the box or in the sides. The experiment was made successively with masses of iron weighing from twenty-six to fifty-five pounds.

6. A graduated rod inserted perpendicularly in the top of the column of sand, and precisely in the direction of an opening below, descends in and with the sand without inclining in any direction, and with a motion nearly as uniform as that of a clock. A rod fifteen inches long, was made at pleasure to descend Maths. of an inch per minute or per second. An overshot wheel placed in the interior of the box, and provided with an index outside, also moved with astonishing regularity, but very slowly. If the rod, instead of being placed in the axis of motion, was placed nearer the sides of the box, it inclined with great uniformity, but at the same time descended and advanced towards the centre with a very slow motion. The velocity of this rod depends then, principally on its position in the sand, and next on the size of the orifice. The velocity is probably also proportional to the ratio wbich exists between the surface of the orifice and the horizontal section of the box, since it depends upon the quantity which flows out during each instant, compared with the whole quantity.

With more care and several modifications of the apparatus, it would probably be possible to produce more regularity than I have attained, in the progress of movable bodies, carried along by the friction of the sand.

I will remark in passing, that there probably does not exist any other natural force on the earth, which produces of itself a perfectly uniform movement, and which would not be altered by gravitation, by friction, or by the resistance of the air. We see that the height of the column has no influence on the velocity of motion of the sand, neither increasing por diminishing it. As to friction, far from being an obstacle, it is itself the direct cause of the regularity and uniformity of the movement, as will be shown in the sequel of my experiments; and the resistance of the air in the inte. rior of a column of sand in motion, must be very small indeed, since none of the grains fall freely. The hour glass, a time piece, which preceded all others, was thus founded on a much more philosophical basis than has been supposed, and I venture to flatter myself that my researches may be of some use to it, in its application to the arts and to science.

7. After having studied sand in motion, I examined its mode of action when distributed in heaps upon a plane.

For this purpose I began by placing isolated grains of sand on a movable plane, susceptible of being inclined at will; they hardly rolled until the plane was inclined at least, under an angle of thirty degrees, and some remained at an inclination of forty degrees, but beyond this none remained at rest. Sand never assumes a level of itself; the angle, or the angles under which it usually presents itself, after a part of its mass has crumbled, are

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almost always between thirty and thirty-three degrees; it rarely maintains itself at thirty-five degrees.

In a well sifted heap, the inferior layers, themselves inclined at thirty degrees with the horizon, serve naturally as supports to the superior ones; but the greater part of the weight of these latter, is supported by the portion of the horizontal plane against which they terminate or abut. If we take away this portion of the horizontal plane or bottom, these outer layers immediately roll off, leaving those on which they rested, undisturbed and inclined under an angle of from thirty to thirty-three degrees. This explains why sand does not flow out of a horizontal opening, if the thickness of the body through which the opening is pierced, is equal to or greater than the height, or vertical dimension of the orifice. In this case the superior layers find points of support on the sides of the containing vessel, and an absolute obstacle in the inferior layers.

Is this property connected with the form of the grains of which the sand is composed? If they had more regularity we might conjecture so, but upon looking at them through a microscope, we see such a variety of figures and dimensions that it is impossible to admit this idea. The greater part of the grains are crystalline laminæ, white, flattened and variously termina. ted; other particles are grey, yellow, brown, &c. with such different forms that they cannot be arranged into distinct classes.

In order to decide whether the form was of any importance in the arrangement of the parts, I tried other substances besides sand, and found that peas or small shot, although with a little more difficulty in forming them into slopes, took nearly the same angle, and followed in all respects the same laws.

II. Pressure of Sand and other Substances composed of Grains. 1. An egg having been placed at the bottom of a box and covered with several inches of sand, the sand was loaded with a mass of iron weighing fifty-five pounds. The result was precisely what I had anticipated; the egg remained unbroken under the great weight which was placed above it.

I repeated this experiment, putting the sand in motion by means of an orifice at the bottom of the box. The result was the same, whether the egg was placed at the bottom or in the middle of the mass of sand.

These trials proved that the pressure excited by the mass of iron was deflected laterally by the interposition of the sand. They proved also, that a body placed in a mass of sand, is protected by it as it would be by a liquid, although the sand has a different kind of action from the liquid, on the sides of the vessel containing it.

These conclusions being somewhat paradoxical, I resolved to have recourse to more decisive proof.

2. I took a tube of glass open at both ends, and inserted it, vertically into a small horizontal tube of wood near one end, the other end of this horizontal tube being exactly fitted into a vertical cylindrical box iths. of an inch in diameter and eight inches in height.

I filled this box with mercury, as if it had been the cistern of a barometer; the mercury naturally assumed its level in the vertical tube of glass. Its height in this tube was marked. I then adapted to the box, or cylindrical cistern, a large tin tube twenty-seven inches long, and one inch and onethird in diameter. I filled this large tube with sand, taking care to pour it in very slowly, so as not to agitate the mercury.

Here was a true barometer for measuring the weight of the sand; there

was an equal pressure of air on each side, so that apparently nothing prevented the equilibrium between the sand and the mercury. Although I had in part expected the result, I was surprised to see that the sand had added nothing to the weight of the mercury; the liquid kept its level to within Ith. of an inch, a difference which was produced by an accidental shaking of the apparatus during the experiment; for having changed the place of the apparatus, the mercury resumed its level as before the experiment, and preserved it as long as I maintained this state of things. *

I afterwards took the sand from above the mercury; it had not penetrated into the liquid. I substituted in its place dried peas; the large tube was completely filled with them, their weight being more than three pounds. I added an iron weight of upwards of two pounds, and lastly a pressure of the hand as great as I durst apply without endangering the apparatus. The mercury kept its level in the glass tube; not rising sth. part of an inch. The' apparatus remained several days on trial without any other result. Thus the mercury had not been acted on by the weight of the sand, nor by that of the peas.

This absence of pressure on the bottom of a vessel was still better proved by the following experiments.

3. I took the same tube of tin and suspended it from a very sensible balance; I counterbalanced it exactly, and arranged it so that it reached nearly to the floor. I placed on the floor itself, a small solid cylinder of wood, about two inches high, and a little less in diameter than the large tube, so that the tube inclosed the cylinder, and could play freely in a vertical direction. As the tube was perfectly equipoised, and suspended to the arm of the balance vertically above the small solid cylinder, it moved upwards and downwards along this latter without any sensible friction.

I next weighed out a quantity of dried peas and introduced them into the large tin tube. It lost its mobility instantly, as if it had become more heavy, notwithstanding that it had no bottom, and the peas had a solid support on the top of the cylinder of wood.

I afterwards put into the opposite dish of the balance a certain number of grammes successively, until the dish descended, when the tube separated from the cylinder, allowing the escape of the peas which it had contained.

The weight required to raise the tube from the top of the cylinder was, within a very few grammes, equal to the weight of dried peas which I had poured into the tube; the difference was not more than twenty grammes, whilst the weight of the peas was more than three and a quarter pounds. The tube, therefore, appeared to be loaded with all the weight of the peas to which it gave its support.

The experiment repeated with different quantities and with additional weights always succeeded, and often within eight or ten grammes.

But it might be still objected that the lower cylinder had in some way supported the weight of the column. I therefore made the inverse experiment.

4 and 5. In this experiment I fastened the tube by two cords to two supports laterally, and suspended the small cylinder from the dish of the balance, in such a way that being equipoised before hand, it was introduced freely half an inch into the tin tube, and by the least additional weight it fell and permitted the escape of its load.

* The experiment would have been more simply made with a tube bent like a syphon with parallel branches; but M. Burnand had none at his disposal.

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