James Prescott Joule

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James Prescott Joule

Joule James sitting.jpg
Born(1818-12-24)24 December 1818
Salford, Lancashire, England
Died11 October 1889(1889-10-11) (aged 70)
Sale, Cheshire, England
CitizenshipBritish
Known for First law of thermodynamics
Disproving caloric theory
Spouse(s)Amelia Grimes
(m. 1847–1854)
ChildrenBenjamin Arthur
Alice Amelia
Henry
Awards Royal Medal (1852)
Copley Medal (1870)
Albert Medal (1880)
Scientific career
Fields Physics
Influences John Dalton
John Davies
An electric motor presented to Kelvin by James Joule in 1842. Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. An electric motor presented to Kelvin by James Joule in 1842, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.jpg
An electric motor presented to Kelvin by James Joule in 1842. Hunterian Museum, Glasgow.

James Prescott Joule FRS FRSE ( /l/ ; [1] 24 December 1818  11 October 1889) was an English physicist, mathematician and brewer, born in Salford, Lancashire. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work (see energy). This led to the law of conservation of energy, which in turn led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named after him.

Fellow of the Royal Society Elected Fellow of the Royal Society, including Honorary, Foreign and Royal Fellows

Fellowship of the Royal Society is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of London judges to have made a 'substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science'.

Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Award granted by the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) is an award granted to individuals that the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland, judges to be "eminently distinguished in their subject". This society had, in itself received a royal charter in 1783, allowing for its expansion.

Physicist scientist who does research in physics

A physicist is a scientist who specializes in the field of physics, which encompasses the interactions of matter and energy at all length and time scales in the physical universe. Physicists generally are interested in the root or ultimate causes of phenomena, and usually frame their understanding in mathematical terms. Physicists work across a wide range of research fields, spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic and particle physics, through biological physics, to cosmological length scales encompassing the universe as a whole. The field generally includes two types of physicists: experimental physicists who specialize in the observation of physical phenomena and the analysis of experiments, and theoretical physicists who specialize in mathematical modeling of physical systems to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena. Physicists can apply their knowledge towards solving practical problems or to developing new technologies.

Contents

Joule worked with Lord Kelvin to develop an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale, which came to be called the Kelvin scale. Joule also made observations of magnetostriction, and he found the relationship between the current through a resistor and the heat dissipated, which is also called Joule's first law. His experiments about energy transformations were first published in 1843.

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin British physicist and engineer

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, was a Scots-Irish mathematical physicist and engineer who was born in Belfast in 1824. At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He worked closely with mathematics professor Hugh Blackburn in his work. He also had a career as an electric telegraph engineer and inventor, which propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour. For his work on the transatlantic telegraph project he was knighted in 1866 by Queen Victoria, becoming Sir William Thomson. He had extensive maritime interests and was most noted for his work on the mariner's compass, which previously had limited reliability.

Temperature physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold

Temperature is a physical quantity expressing hot and cold. It is measured with a thermometer calibrated in one or more temperature scales. The most commonly used scales are the Celsius scale, Fahrenheit scale, and Kelvin scale. The kelvin is the unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI), in which temperature is one of the seven fundamental base quantities. The Kelvin scale is widely used in science and technology.

The Kelvin scale is an absolute thermodynamic temperature scale using as its null point absolute zero, the temperature at which all thermal motion ceases in the classical description of thermodynamics. The kelvin is the base unit of temperature in the International System of Units (SI).

Early years

James Joule was born in 1818, the son of Benjamin Joule (1784–1858), a wealthy brewer, and his wife, Alice Prescott, on New Bailey Street in Salford. [2] Joule was tutored as a young man by the famous scientist John Dalton and was strongly influenced by chemist William Henry and Manchester engineers Peter Ewart and Eaton Hodgkinson. He was fascinated by electricity, and he and his brother experimented by giving electric shocks to each other and to the family's servants.

City of Salford Metropolitan borough and city in England

The City of Salford, commonly known as Salford, is a city and metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, England, extending west to include the towns of Eccles, Worsley, Swinton, Walkden, Little Hulton, and Irlam. The city has a population of 245,600, and is administered from the Salford Civic Centre in Swinton.

John Dalton English chemist, meteorologist and physicist

John Dalton FRS was an English chemist, physicist, and meteorologist. He is best known for introducing the atomic theory into chemistry, and for his research into colour blindness, sometimes referred to as Daltonism in his honour.

William Henry (chemist) British chemist

William Henry was an English chemist. He was the son of Thomas Henry and was born in Manchester England. He developed what is known today as Henry's Law.

As an adult, Joule managed the brewery. Science was merely a serious hobby. Sometime around 1840, he started to investigate the feasibility of replacing the brewery's steam engines with the newly invented electric motor. His first scientific papers on the subject were contributed to William Sturgeon's Annals of Electricity. Joule was a member of the London Electrical Society, established by Sturgeon and others.

Steam engine Heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid

A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid. The steam engine uses the force produced by steam pressure to push a piston back and forth inside a cylinder. This pushing force is transformed, by a connecting rod and flywheel, into rotational force for work. The term "steam engine" is generally applied only to reciprocating engines as just described, not to the steam turbine.

Electric motor electromechanical device

An electric motor is an electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Most electric motors operate through the interaction between the motor's magnetic field and electric current in a wire winding to generate force in the form of rotation of a shaft. Electric motors can be powered by direct current (DC) sources, such as from batteries, motor vehicles or rectifiers, or by alternating current (AC) sources, such as a power grid, inverters or electrical generators. An electric generator is mechanically identical to an electric motor, but operates in the reverse direction, converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

William Sturgeon British inventor

William Sturgeon was an English physicist and inventor who made the first electromagnets, and invented the first practical English electric motor.

Motivated in part by a businessman's desire to quantify the economics of the choice, and in part by his scientific inquisitiveness, he set out to determine which prime mover was more efficient. He discovered Joule's first law in 1841, that the heat which is evolved by the proper action of any voltaic current is proportional to the square of the intensity of that current, multiplied by the resistance to conduction which it experiences. [3] He went on to realize that burning a pound of coal in a steam engine was more economical than a costly pound of zinc consumed in an electric battery. Joule captured the output of the alternative methods in terms of a common standard, the ability to raise a mass weighing one pound to a height of one foot, the foot-pound.

Economics Social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Heat energy transfer process, or its amount (and direction), that is associated with a temperature difference

In thermodynamics, heat is energy in transfer to or from a thermodynamic system, by mechanisms other than thermodynamic work or transfer of matter. The mechanisms include conduction, through direct contact of immobile bodies, or through a wall or barrier that is impermeable to matter; or radiation between separated bodies; or isochoric mechanical work done by the surroundings on the system of interest; or Joule heating by an electric current driven through the system of interest by an external system; or a combination of these. When there is a suitable path between two systems with different temperatures, heat transfer occurs necessarily, immediately, and spontaneously from the hotter to the colder system. Thermal conduction occurs by the stochastic (random) motion of microscopic particles. In contrast, thermodynamic work is defined by mechanisms that act macroscopically and directly on the system's whole-body state variables; for example, change of the system's volume through a piston's motion with externally measurable force; or change of the system's internal electric polarization through an externally measurable change in electric field. The definition of heat transfer does not require that the process be in any sense smooth. For example, a bolt of lightning may transfer heat to a body.

Voltaic pile first electrical battery that could continuously provide an electric current to a circuit

The voltaic pile was the first electrical battery that could continuously provide an electric current to a circuit. It was invented by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who published his experiments in 1799. The voltaic pile then enabled a rapid series of other discoveries including the electrical decomposition (electrolysis) of water into oxygen and hydrogen by William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle (1800) and the discovery or isolation of the chemical elements sodium (1807), potassium (1807), calcium (1808), boron (1808), barium (1808), strontium (1808), and magnesium (1808) by Humphry Davy.

However, Joule's interest diverted from the narrow financial question to that of how much work could be extracted from a given source, leading him to speculate about the convertibility of energy. In 1843 he published results of experiments showing that the heating effect he had quantified in 1841 was due to generation of heat in the conductor and not its transfer from another part of the equipment. This was a direct challenge to the caloric theory which held that heat could neither be created or destroyed. Caloric theory had dominated thinking in the science of heat since introduced by Antoine Lavoisier in 1783. Lavoisier's prestige and the practical success of Sadi Carnot's caloric theory of the heat engine since 1824 ensured that the young Joule, working outside either academia or the engineering profession, had a difficult road ahead. Supporters of the caloric theory readily pointed to the symmetry of the Peltier–Seebeck effect to claim that heat and current were convertible in an, at least approximately, reversible process.

Convertibility is the quality that allows money or other financial instruments to be converted into other liquid stores of value. Convertibility is an important factor in international trade, where instruments valued in different currencies must be exchanged.

Energy quantitative physical property transferred to objects to perform heating or work on them

In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.

The caloric theory is an obsolete scientific theory that heat consists of a self-repellent fluid called caloric that flows from hotter bodies to colder bodies. Caloric was also thought of as a weightless gas that could pass in and out of pores in solids and liquids. The "caloric theory" was superseded by the mid-19th century in favor of the mechanical theory of heat, but nevertheless persisted in some scientific literature—particularly in more popular treatments—until the end of the 19th century.

The mechanical equivalent of heat

Further experiments and measurements with his electric motor led Joule to estimate the mechanical equivalent of heat as 4.1868 joules per calorie of work to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one Kelvin. [4] He announced his results at a meeting of the chemical section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in Cork in August 1843 and was met by silence. [5]

Joule was undaunted and started to seek a purely mechanical demonstration of the conversion of work into heat. By forcing water through a perforated cylinder, he could measure the slight viscous heating of the fluid. He obtained a mechanical equivalent of 770  ft·lbf/Btu (4.14 joule/calorie (J/cal)). The fact that the values obtained both by electrical and purely mechanical means were in agreement to at least one order of magnitude was, to Joule, compelling evidence of the reality of the convertibility of work into heat.

Wherever mechanical force is expended, an exact equivalent of heat is always obtained.

J.P. Joule, August, 1843

Joule now tried a third route. He measured the heat generated against the work done in compressing a gas. He obtained a mechanical equivalent of 798 ft·lbf/Btu (4.29 J/cal). In many ways, this experiment offered the easiest target for Joule's critics but Joule disposed of the anticipated objections by clever experimentation. Joule read his paper to the Royal Society on 20 June 1844, [6] however, his paper was rejected for publishing by the Royal Society and he had to be content with publishing in the Philosophical Magazine in 1845. [7] In the paper he was forthright in his rejection of the caloric reasoning of Carnot and Émile Clapeyron, a rejection partly theologically driven:

I conceive that this theory ... is opposed to the recognised principles of philosophy because it leads to the conclusion that vis viva may be destroyed by an improper disposition of the apparatus: Thus Mr Clapeyron draws the inference that 'the temperature of the fire being 1000 °C to 2000 °C higher than that of the boiler there is an enormous loss of vis viva in the passage of the heat from the furnace to the boiler.' Believing that the power to destroy belongs to the Creator alone I affirm ... that any theory which, when carried out, demands the annihilation of force, is necessarily erroneous.

Joule here adopts the language of vis viva (energy), possibly because Hodgkinson had read a review of Ewart's On the measure of moving force to the Literary and Philosophical Society in April 1844.

Joule wrote in his 1844 paper:

... the mechanical power exerted in turning a magneto-electric machine is converted into the heat evolved by the passage of the currents of induction through its coils; and, on the other hand, that the motive power of the electromagnetic engine is obtained at the expense of the heat due to the chemical reactions of the battery by which it is worked.

In June 1845, Joule read his paper On the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat to the British Association meeting in Cambridge. [8] In this work, he reported his best-known experiment, involving the use of a falling weight, in which gravity does the mechanical work, to spin a paddle wheel in an insulated barrel of water which increased the temperature. He now estimated a mechanical equivalent of 819 ft·lbf/Btu (4.41 J/cal). He wrote a letter to the Philosophical Magazine, published in September 1845 describing his experiment. [9]

Joule's Heat Apparatus, 1845 Joule's heat apparatus.JPG
Joule's Heat Apparatus, 1845

In 1850, Joule published a refined measurement of 772.692 ft·lbf/Btu (4.159 J/cal), closer to twentieth century estimates. [10]

Reception and priority

Joule's apparatus for measuring the mechanical equivalent of heat Joule's Apparatus (Harper's Scan).png
Joule's apparatus for measuring the mechanical equivalent of heat

Much of the initial resistance to Joule's work stemmed from its dependence upon extremely precise measurements. He claimed to be able to measure temperatures to within 1200 of a degree Fahrenheit (3 mK). Such precision was certainly uncommon in contemporary experimental physics but his doubters may have neglected his experience in the art of brewing and his access to its practical technologies. [11] He was also ably supported by scientific instrument-maker John Benjamin Dancer. Joule's experiments complemented the theoretical work of Rudolf Clausius, who is considered by some to be the coinventor of the energy concept.

Joule was proposing a kinetic theory of heat (he believed it to be a form of rotational, rather than translational, kinetic energy), and this required a conceptual leap: if heat was a form of molecular motion, why didn't the motion of the molecules gradually die out? Joule's ideas required one to believe that the collisions of molecules were perfectly elastic. We should also remember that the very existence of atoms and molecules was not widely accepted for another 50 years.

Although it may be hard today to understand the allure of the caloric theory, at the time it seemed to have some clear advantages. Carnot's successful theory of heat engines had also been based on the caloric assumption, and only later was it proved by Lord Kelvin that Carnot's mathematics were equally valid without assuming a caloric fluid.

However, in Germany, Hermann Helmholtz became aware both of Joule's work and the similar 1842 work of Julius Robert von Mayer. Though both men had been neglected since their respective publications, Helmholtz's definitive 1847 declaration of the conservation of energy credited them both.

Also in 1847, another of Joule's presentations at the British Association in Oxford was attended by George Gabriel Stokes, Michael Faraday, and the precocious and maverick William Thomson, later to become Lord Kelvin, who had just been appointed professor of natural philosophy at the University of Glasgow. Stokes was "inclined to be a Joulite" and Faraday was "much struck with it" though he harboured doubts. Thomson was intrigued but sceptical.

Unanticipated, Thomson and Joule met later that year in Chamonix. Joule married Amelia Grimes on 18 August and the couple went on honeymoon. Marital enthusiasm notwithstanding, Joule and Thomson arranged to attempt an experiment a few days later to measure the temperature difference between the top and bottom of the Cascade de Sallanches waterfall, though this subsequently proved impractical.

Though Thomson felt that Joule's results demanded theoretical explanation, he retreated into a spirited defence of the Carnot-Clapeyron school. In his 1848 account of absolute temperature, Thomson wrote that "the conversion of heat (or caloric) into mechanical effect is probably impossible, certainly undiscovered" [12] – but a footnote signalled his first doubts about the caloric theory, referring to Joule's "very remarkable discoveries". Surprisingly, Thomson did not send Joule a copy of his paper but when Joule eventually read it he wrote to Thomson on 6 October, claiming that his studies had demonstrated conversion of heat into work but that he was planning further experiments. Thomson replied on the 27th, revealing that he was planning his own experiments and hoping for a reconciliation of their two views. Though Thomson conducted no new experiments, over the next two years he became increasingly dissatisfied with Carnot's theory and convinced of Joule's. In his 1851 paper, Thomson was willing to go no further than a compromise and declared "the whole theory of the motive power of heat is founded on ... two ... propositions, due respectively to Joule, and to Carnot and Clausius".

As soon as Joule read the paper he wrote to Thomson with his comments and questions. Thus began a fruitful, though largely epistolary, collaboration between the two men, Joule conducting experiments, Thomson analysing the results and suggesting further experiments. The collaboration lasted from 1852 to 1856, its discoveries including the Joule–Thomson effect, and the published results did much to bring about general acceptance of Joule's work and the kinetic theory.

Kinetic theory

James Prescott Joule Joule James Jeens engraving.jpg
James Prescott Joule

Kinetics is the science of motion. Joule was a pupil of Dalton and it is no surprise that he had learned a firm belief in the atomic theory, even though there were many scientists of his time who were still skeptical. He had also been one of the few people receptive to the neglected work of John Herapath on the kinetic theory of gases. He was further profoundly influenced by Peter Ewart's 1813 paper On the measure of moving force.

Joule perceived the relationship between his discoveries and the kinetic theory of heat. His laboratory notebooks reveal that he believed heat to be a form of rotational, rather than translational motion.

Joule could not resist finding antecedents of his views in Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, John Locke, Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) and Sir Humphry Davy. Though such views are justified, Joule went on to estimate a value for the mechanical equivalent of heat of 1034 foot-pound from Rumford's publications. Some modern writers have criticised this approach on the grounds that Rumford's experiments in no way represented systematic quantitative measurements. In one of his personal notes, Joule contends that Mayer's measurement was no more accurate than Rumford's, perhaps in the hope that Mayer had not anticipated his own work.

Joule has been attributed with explaining the sunset green flash phenomenon in a letter to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society in 1869; actually, he merely noted (with a sketch) the last glimpse as bluish green, without attempting to explain the cause of the phenomenon. [13]

Honours

A statue of Joule in the Manchester Town Hall James Joule statue Manchester City Hall 20051020.jpg
A statue of Joule in the Manchester Town Hall
Joule's gravestone in Brooklands cemetery, Sale James Prescott Joule gravestone.JPG
Joule's gravestone in Brooklands cemetery, Sale

Joule died at home in Sale [14] and is buried in Brooklands cemetery there. His gravestone is inscribed with the number "772.55", his climacteric 1878 measurement of the mechanical equivalent of heat, in which he found that this amount of foot-pounds of work must be expended at sea level to raise the temperature of one pound of water from 60 to 61 °F. There is also a quotation from the Gospel of John: "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (9:4). The Wetherspoon's pub in Sale, the town of his death, is named "The J. P. Joule" after him. Joule's family brewery survives to this day but is now located in Market Drayton (see Joule’s Brewery for more information on origins).

Joule's many honours and commendations include:

There is a memorial to Joule in the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey, though he is not buried there, contrary to what some biographies state. A statue of Joule by Alfred Gilbert stands in Manchester Town Hall, opposite that of Dalton.

Selected writings

Family

In 1847, Joule married Amelia Grimes. Joule became a widower when she died in 1854, 7 years after their wedding. [15] They had three children together: a son, Benjamin Arthur Joule (1850–1922), a daughter, Alice Amelia (1852–1899) and a second son, Henry (born 1854, who died three weeks later). [16]

See also

Notes

  1. OED: "Although some people of this name call themselves (dʒaʊl), and others (dʒəʊl) [the OED format for /l/ ], it is almost certain that J. P. Joule (and at least some of his relatives) used (dʒuːl)."
  2. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0 902 198 84 X.
  3. Joule, J.P. (1841). "On the Heat evolved by Metallic Conductors of Electricity, and in the Cells of a Battery during Electrolysis". Philosophical Magazine. 19: 260. doi:10.1080/14786444108650416 . Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  4. Joule's unit of 1 ft lbf/Btu corresponds to 5.3803×10−3 J/cal. Thus Joule's estimate was 4.15 J/cal, compared to the value accepted by the beginning of the 20th century of 4.1860 J/cal (M.W. Zemansky (1968) Heat and Thermodynamics, 5th ed., p. 86).
  5. Joule, J.P. (1843). "On the Calorific Effects of Magneto-Electricity, and on the Mechanical Value of Heat". Philosophical Magazine. 3. 23: 263, 347 & 435. doi:10.1080/14786444308644766 . Retrieved 4 March 2014.
  6. Joule, J.P. (1844). "On the Changes of Temperature Produced by the Rarefaction and Condensation of Air". Proceedings of the Royal Society of London . 5. doi:10.1098/rspl.1843.0031. and Scientific Papers p. 171
  7. Joule, J.P. (1845). "On the Changes of Temperature Produced by the Rarefaction and Condensation of Air". Philosophical Magazine. 3. 26 (174): 369–383. doi:10.1080/14786444508645153.
  8. Joule, J.P. (1845) "On the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat", Brit. Assoc. Rep., trans. Chemical Sect, p.31, read before the British Association at Cambridge, June 1845
  9. Joule, J.P. (1845). "On the Existence of an Equivalent Relation between Heat and the ordinary Forms of Mechanical Power". Philosophical Magazine. 3. 27 (179): 205–207. doi:10.1080/14786444508645256.
  10. Joule, J.P. (1850). "On the Mechanical Equivalent of Heat". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. 140: 61–82. doi:10.1098/rstl.1850.0004.
  11. Sibum (1994)
  12. See Thomson, William (1848). "On an Absolute Thermometric Scale founded on Carnot's Theory of the Motive Power of Heat, and calculated from Regnault's Observations". Philosophical Journal.- See also the account in Thomson, William (1882). Mathematical and Physical Papers. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. pp. 100–106.
  13. Proc. Manchester Lit. Phil. Soc. 9, 1 (1869) On an appearance of the setting sun reprinted as On Sunset seen at Southport
  14. GRO Register of Deaths: DEC 1889 8a 121 ALTRINCHAM – James Prescott Joule
  15. Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–,2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN   0 902 198 84 X.
  16. Donald S. L. Cardwell (1991). James Joule: A Biography. Manchester University Press. p. 285. ISBN   978-0-7190-3479-4.

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The history of heat has a prominent place in the history of science. It traces its origins to the first hominids to make fire and to speculate on its operation and meaning to modern day physicists who study the microscopic nature of heat. The phenomenon of heat and its definition through mythological theories of fire, to heat, to Terra pinguis, phlogiston, to fire air, to caloric, to the theory of heat, to the mechanical equivalent of heat, to Thermos-dynamics to thermodynamics. The history of heat is a precursor for developments and theories in the history of thermodynamics.

<i>Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire</i> unique book of the French physician Sadi Carnot

Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire and on Machines Fitted to Develop that Power is a book published in 1824 by French physicist Sadi Carnot. The 118-page book's French title was Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu et sur les machines propres à développer cette puissance. It is a significant publication in the history of thermodynamics about a generalized theory of heat engines.

The 19th century in science saw the birth of science as a profession; the term scientist was coined in 1833 by William Whewell, which soon replaced the older term of (natural) philosopher.