Reference numberAP/23/34/1
TitleUnpublished manuscript, 'On the production of heat by voltaic electricity' by James Prescott Joule
Date13 October 1840
DescriptionJoule investigates the cause of the different degrees of facility with which various kinds of metal, of different sizes, are heated by the passage of voltaic electricity. The apparatus he employs for this purpose consists of a coil of wire placed in a jar of water, of which the change of temperature was measured by a thermometer immersed in it, and a galvanometer, to indicate the quantity of electricity sent through the wire, which can be estimated by the quantity of water decomposed by that electricity. The conclusion he draws from the results of his experiments is that the calorific effects of equal quantities of transmitted electricity are proportional to the resistances opposed to its passage, regardless of the length, thickness, shape, or kind of metal which closes the circuit. He also concludes that that these effects are in the duplicate ratio of the quantities of transmitted electricity, and consequently also in the duplicate ratio of the velocity of transmission. He infers from his research that the heat produced by the combustion of zinc in oxygen is likewise the consequence of resistance to electric conduction.

Includes one diagram in the text of experimental apparatus. Marked on back as 'Archives 11 March 1841 S H C [Samuel Hunter Christie]'. Annotations in pencil throughout.

Subject: Physics / Electricity

Received 16 October 1840. Read 17 December 1840. Communicated by P M [Peter Mark] Roget.

Written by Joule at New Bailey Street, Salford, Manchester [England].

Whilst the Royal Society declined to publish this paper in full, an abstract of the paper was published in volume 4 of Abstracts of the Papers Printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London [later Proceedings of the Royal Society] as 'On the production of heat by voltaic electricity'.
Physical descriptionInk and graphite pencil on paper
Access statusOpen
Related materialDOI: 10.1098/rspl.1837.0140
Fellows associated with this archive
NA7041Joule; James Prescott (1818 - 1889); physicist1818 - 1889
NA6616Roget; Peter Mark (1779 - 1869); physician and philologist1779 - 1869
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