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Examination of the Oil

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EXAMINATION OF THE OIL To determine what products might be obtained in the oil, a portion of it was sub mitted to fractional distillation.* The temperature of the fluid was constantly regulated by a thermometer, the heat being applied first by a water bath, and then by a bath of linseed oil. This experiment was founded upon the belief that the crude product contained several distinct oils, having different boiling points. The quantity of material used in this experiment was 304 grammes. The thermometer indicated the degrees of the Centigrade scale, but, for convenience, the corresponding degrees of Fahren heit's scale are added. The water bath failed to distil any portion of the oil at too° C. (=2t2° F.), only a small quantity of acid water came over. An oil bath, linseed oil, was then substituted, and the temperature was regularly raised by slow degrees until distillation commenced. From that point the heat was successively raised by stages of ten degrees, allowing full time at each stage for complete distillation of all that would rise at that temperature before advancing to the next stage. The results of this tedious process are given in the annexed table-304 grammes of crude oil, submitted to fractional distillation, gave Product No. t, as above remarked, was almost entirely water, with a few drops of colourless oil, having an odour similar to the original fluid, but less intense.

Product No. 2 was an oil perfectly colourless, very thin and limpid, and having an exceedingly persistent odour, similar to the crude oil, but less intense.

Product No. 3 was tinged slightly yellow, perfectly transparent, and apparently as limpid as the second product, with the same odour.

Product No. 4 was more decidedly yellowish than the last, but was in no other respect distinguishable from it.

Product No. 5 was more highly coloured, thicker in consistence, and had a de cided empyreumatic odour.

Product No. 6. This and the two subsequent products were each more highly coloured and denser than the preceding. The last product had the colour and con sistency of honey, and the odour was less penetrating than that of the preceding oils. The mass of crude product remaining in the retort (equal 47.4 per cent.) was a dark, thick, resinous-looking varnish, which was so stiff when cold that it could be inverted without spilling. This showed no disposition to harden or skin over by exposure to the air. The distillation was arrested at this point in glass, by our having reached

the limit of temperature for a bath of linseed oil. The density of the several products of this distillation shows a progressive increase, thus: To form an idea of the comparative density of these several products, it may be well to state that sulphuric ether, which is one of the lightest fluids known, has a density of .736, and alcohol, when absolutely pure, .800.

The boiling points of these several fluids present some anomalies, but are usually progressive, thus, No. 2 gave signs of boiling at 115° C. (= 239° F.), and boiled vigor ously and remained constant at 225° C. to 228° C. (= 437° to 442° F.). No. 3 began to boil 120° (-248° F.), rose to 270° (= 5 r8° F.), where it remained constant. No. 4 began to vapourise at 140° (= 284° F.), rose to zgo° (= 554° F.), where it remained constant. On a second heating the temperature continued to rise, and passed 305° (=581° F.). No. 5 gave appearance of boiling at 16o° (=32o° F.), boiling more vigorously as the heat was raised, and was still rising at 3o8° (= 581° F.). No. 6 com menced boiling at 135° (= 275° F.), boiled violently at 16o° (=320° F.), and continued rising above the range of the mercurial thermometer. No. 7 commenced ebullition at the same temperature as No. 6, and rose to 305° (=581° F.), where the ebullition was not very active. Much time was consumed in obtaining these results. We infer from them that the rock-oil is a mixture of numerous compounds, all having essentially the same chemical constitution, but differing in density and boiling points, and capable of separation from each other, by a well-regulated heat.

The uncertainty of the boiling points indicates that the products obtained at the temperatures named above were still mixtures of others, and the question forces itself upon us, whether these several oils are to be regarded as educts (i. e., bodies previously existing, and simply separated in the process of distillation), or whether they are not rather produced by the heat and chemical change in the process of dis tillation. The continued application of an elevated temperature alone is sufficient to effect changes in the constitution of many organic products, evolving new bodies not before existing in the original substance.