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Nicholson’s “Account of the New Electrical Apparatus” Report (Assessment)


Summary

Nicholas Williamson, the author, obtains a particular piece of paper containing the research work by Sig. Volta. The piece of paper was with the royal society president, Sir Joseph Banks. The author gets a story about electricity production through a series of research activities done by some skillful scientists, Mr. Volt, and Mr. Carlisle. The author and Mr. Volta seem to have conducted similar electricity production experiments, and he, the author, intended to obtain a patent right for the research before Volt (Nicholson, 1800).

He wanted to seek the approval and assistance of the royal before making any publications. Unfortunately, Mr. Volta made it to the royal before him. In Volta’s letter, he explains how pieces of copper, silver, tin, or zinc are put together and covered by a moist absorbent, soaked with salty water or alkaline when in contact with each other it produces a stream of current (Nicholson, 1800).

The rationale behind the functionality of this apparatus is the ability of the pieces of the collected metals to conduct electricity. According to the author, Volt learned that the metals had different electric conductivity power. Volt discovered that if zinc and silver were in contact in a moist environment, the resultant would be a stream of current. Using a condenser, Volt was able to verify that the current produced was electricity (Nicholson, 1800).

The current was generating sparks on the minus side (lower side) of the apparatus. Volts also noticed that this current could shock on the event of touching the minus side of the setup. He also experimented on the effects of running steam of current on wounded skin. The outcome was a more pungent pain in the wounded area (Nicholson, 1800). According to Volt, the following factors facilitated electricity production, humidity, good conductors of electricity, and contact between the conductors. He goes ahead to conduct a series of experiments to find out how different environmental situations and materials would affect the functionality of his apparatus (Nicholson, 1800).

The author’s thesis

The author, Nicholson Williamson, seems to have held a hypothesis against the successful functionality of the method of electricity production. He had a strong doubt about whether galvanism could be an electrical phenomenon (Nicholson, 1800). His doubt was cleared after personally experiencing how successful Volt’s experiments were. Still, the author did some research on the disadvantage of using the method and reported a chemical phenomenon that could be a major deterrence to both large-scale performances of this experiment and long-term electricity production (Nicholson, 1800).

He noticed that among the observations recorded by Fabbrino, a galvanism expert, oxidation and its effects were not many parts of his records. This chemical process is characterized by the loss of electrons. The pieces of metals and the wire used in setting up the apparatus lose electrons and form some unique chemical components. The author thinks that galvanism is still far away from being a reliable electricity production process (Nicholson, 1800).

The main text argument

Mr. Carlisle and Galvani took volt’s idea of electricity production to a higher level of sophistication. In all the cases as reported by the researchers, electricity was successfully produced. Nevertheless, the experiments were so demanding and very unpredictable. The results of the chemical processes influenced by current were highly varying and in some cases, explosions occurred. These characteristics brand galvanism to be a dangerous practice.

The experiment is characterized by some unexplainable situations thus renders it inconclusive (Nicholson, 1800). One known chemical phenomenon that is characterized by the process is oxidation. The intensity of this phenomenon is not yet established, neither is the experimental characteristic to be used in its establishment, known. It is also not yet established how different environmental situations (change in temperature, change in humidity, and change in air pressure) would affect the experiment (Nicholson, 1800).

Also, it is not yet clearly established what more incidents would occur amid the experiment’s progress. Being that the experiment is not safe to practice and that the level of riskiness is not yet established, publishing of the project should be held back. The holdback is justified by the fact that the experiments still exhibit non-established and immeasurable aspects that render their conclusion pending and as a result further experimental activities are, with no doubt, necessary.

References

Nicholson, W. (1800). Account of the New Electrical Apparatus of Sig. Alex.Volta. Nicholson’s journal of natural philosophy. Vol 4,179-187.

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IvyPanda. (2021, January 13). Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus". Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicholsons-account-of-the-new-electrical-apparatus/

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"Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus"." IvyPanda, 13 Jan. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/nicholsons-account-of-the-new-electrical-apparatus/.

1. IvyPanda. "Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus"." January 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicholsons-account-of-the-new-electrical-apparatus/.


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IvyPanda. "Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus"." January 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicholsons-account-of-the-new-electrical-apparatus/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus"." January 13, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicholsons-account-of-the-new-electrical-apparatus/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Nicholson's "Account of the New Electrical Apparatus"'. 13 January.

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