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dark red. At 340 the receiver was again changed, the thermometer removed and the distillation continued until the temperature was (at a guess) about 425 Centigrade. At this point the distilling bulb cracked and the operation was stopped. On cooling, the contents of the bulb became a black brittle solid, showing a very pronounced resemblance to gilsonite in every way. The following are its properties : Black glistening color, becoming brown on pulverizing, and slightly darker than gilsonite; fracture conchoidal, entirely soluble in carbon bisulphide ; ether dissolves 90.6 per cent.; alcohol 66.3 per cent.; petroleum ether 61.1 per cent. All these solutions show greenish fluorescence, while the color by transmitted light varies from yellow to reddish.
As already stated, the distilling bulb cracked before I had decided to stop the distillation, and the solid product being slightly sticky to the touch, I distilled a second portion of oil, collecting the same fractions as before, but continuing the heating longer. This time I obtained a solid so like gilsonite that it was difficult to tell which was which. A combustion of the first sample gave carbon, 87.5 per cent., and hydrogen, 7.7 per cent. A combustion of the second sample gave carbon, 88.9 per cent., and hydrogen, 6.7 per cent. The figures for Utah gilsonite are 88.3 for carbon and 9.9 for hydrogen. At the time (three years since) I made the analysis of gilsonite nitrogen was not determined. Recently I have determined the nitrogen, and found it to be 1.96 per cent. Since the carbon, hydrogen and sulphur figures added up to 99.5 one or all of the three must have been high, and I am inclined to think that it was the hydrogen, since I cannot now be sure that the gilsonite sample was entirely dry.
The agreement in properties and composition between the gilsonite and my product is much more perfect than it would have been reasonable to expect at the outset of the experiment, particularly when it is remembered that both are doubtless mixtures in themselves, and that certainly on distillation they yield highly complicated mixtures of hydrocarbons.
As the product under discussion was obtained only a few days ago, I have not had time to carry the investigation further, but enough has been done to show how a solid asphaltum may have been formed in nature and to afford a rather satisfactory demonstration of the correctness of views entertained by a number of scientists who have formed their opinions largely on geological evidence and the study of natural occurrences.
It should be stated, in addition, that for the sake of comparison, fish alone, i. e., without wood, were subjected to distillation and without passing the vapors through the red-hot tube. The products obtained included nothing that bore any resemblance to gilsonite and they were radically different from the products which accompanied the distillation of fish and wood together.
This brief paper is of course only preliminary to one which should consider the literature of the subject more in detail, and which may, I trust, throw some light on a few of the many problems which naturally suggest themselves.
I shall continue the work as rapidly as my limited time and facilities for such study will permit. In conclusion I take pleasure in expressing my obligations to my assistant, Mr. Eugene Leamy, for his very intelligent and effective aid in carrying on the experimental work.
SWARTHMORE COLLEGE, May 19, 1898.