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Sodium by Electrolysis Through Glass


Burt, Robert Cady (1926) Sodium by Electrolysis Through Glass. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/46G5-SE51.


For the electrolysis of sodium into glass containers from salts of sodium, I have developed a stable circuit which permits electrolysis to be carried on with currents as large as .3 amperes.

The purity of this sodium has been tested by spectral analysis of the ionized vapor in the bulb. Light from this ionization has been used to excite resonance radiation.

Some unexplained phenomena have been observed in the relation between electrolysis current and filament current. A similar relation has been noted in some photo-cells between voltage and photo-current. Potassium has been electrolyzed through special potash lime glass.

Photo-cells have been produced which show no change in total photo-current with change in temperature from 20° C. to -100 ° C., and then these cells have been contaminated with vapor. These contaminated surfaces show greater or less sensitivity at low temperature, depending upon the amount of contamination.

The electrolysis into light bulbs has been used as a voltameter and found to agree with themselves to 1 part in 3000.

The agreement between such voltameters and the silver voltameter improves with the care used in preparing the electrolyte for the silver voltameter. With most carefully prepared electrolyte the agreement is to 1 part in 2000, the silver always being heavier.

The silver voltameter when compared with a standard cell seems to run consistently heavy. The introduction of 1% of potassium nitrate does not interfere with the agreement between sodium voltameters.

A sodium cathode sodium voltameter has been developed which has no filament. This voltameter has a volume of about 12 c.c., a current carrying capacity of about .1 amperes, and is accurately reversible. Its resistance at various temperatures has been measured.

A high vacuum pendulum has been developed which has a life to half amplitude of about ten hours.

A complete Bibliography on the conductivity of glass is appended.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy
Major Option:Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1926
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11022004-131239
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4369
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:02 Nov 2004
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:34

Thesis Files

PDF (Burt_rc_1926.pdf) - Final Version
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