Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, vol. LXX, Dec. 1910
by Herbert M. Wilson
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The gas-tight gallery used for testing the lamps, consists of a rectangular conduit (Fig. 2, Plate X), having sheet-steel sides, 6 mm. thick and 433 mm. wide, the top and bottom being of channel iron. The gallery rests on two steel trestles, and to one end is attached a No. 5 Koerting exhauster, capable of aspirating 50 cu. m. per min., under a pressure of 500 mm. of water, with the necessary valve, steam separator, etc. The mouth of the exhauster passes through the wall of the building and discharges into the open air.

Besides the main horizontal conduit, there are two secondary conduits connected by a short horizontal length, and the whole is put together so that the safety lamp under test may be placed in a current of air, or of air and gas, which strikes it horizontally, vertically upward or downward, or at an angle of 45 (Fig. 3). The path of the current is determined by detachable sheet-steel doors.

There are five double observing windows of plate glass, which open on hinges. The size of each window is 7 by 3 in.; the inner glass is in. thick and the outer one, in. thick. These glasses are separated by a space of in. The upper conduit has four safety doors along the top, each of the inclined conduits has one safety door, and the walls and windows are provided with rubber gaskets or asbestos packing, to make them gas-tight. The cross-sectional area of the conduit is 434 sq. cm.

The air inlet consists of 36 perforations, 22 mm. in diameter, in a bronze plate or diaphragm. The object of this diaphragm is to produce pressure in the conduit before the mixing boxes, and permit the measuring of the velocity of the current. The air-current, after passing through the holes, enters the mixer, a cast-steel box traversed by 36 copper tubes, each perforated by 12 openings, 3 mm. in diameter, arranged in a spiral along its length and equally spaced. The total cross-sectional area of the tubes is 137 sq. cm.

The explosive gas enters the interior of the box around the tubes through large pipes, each 90 mm. in diameter, passes thence through the 432 openings in the copper tubes, and mixes thoroughly with the air flowing through these tubes. The current through the apparatus is induced by the exhauster, and its course is determined by the position of the doors.

The gallery can be controlled so as to provide rapidly and easily a current of known velocity and known percentage of methane. In the explosive current of gas and air, safety lamps of any size or design can be tested under conditions simulating those found occasionally in mines, air-currents containing methane in dangerous proportions striking the lamps at different angles, and the relative safety of the various types of lamps under such conditions can be determined. In this gallery it is also possible to test lighting devices either in a quiet atmosphere or in a moving current, and, by subjecting the lamps to air containing known percentages of methane, it is possible to acquaint the user with the appearance of the flame caps.

Breathing Apparatus.

With this apparatus, the wearer may explore a gaseous mine, approach fires for the purpose of fighting them, or make investigations after an explosion. Its object is to provide air or oxygen to be breathed by the wearer in coal mines, when the mine air is so full of poisonous gases as to render life in its presence impossible.

A variety of forms of rescue helmets and apparatus are on the market, almost all of European manufacture, which are being subjected to comparative trials as to their durability and safety, the ease or inconvenience involved in their use, etc. All consist essentially of helmets which fit air-tight about the head, or of air-tight nose clamps and mouthpieces (Fig. 1, Plate XII).

These several forms of breathing apparatus are of three types:

1.—The liquid-air type, in which air, in a liquid state, evaporates and provides a constant supply of fresh air.

2.—The chemical oxygen-producing type, which artificially makes or supplies oxygen for breathing at about the rate required; and,

3.—The compressed-oxygen type.

Apparatus of the first type, weighing 20 lb., supplies enough air to last about 3 hours, and the products of breathing pass through a check-valve directly into space. Apparatus of the second type supplies oxygen obtained from oxygen-producing chemicals, and also provides means of absorbing the carbonic acid gas produced in respiration. They contain also the requisite tubes, valves, connections, etc., for the transmission of the fresh air and the respired air so as to produce sufficient oxygen while in use; to absorb and purify the products of expiration; and to convey the fresh air to the mouth without contamination by the atmosphere in which the apparatus is used. Three oxygen-generating cartridges are provided, each supplying oxygen enough for 1 hour, making the total capacity 3 hours. Changes of cylinders can be made in a few seconds while breathing is suspended. This apparatus weighs from 20 to 25 lb., according to the number of oxygen generators carried. The cartridges for generating oxygen, provided with this apparatus, are of no value after having been used for about an hour.

The third type of apparatus is equipped with strong cylinders charged with oxygen under high pressure; two potash regenerative cans for absorbing the carbon dioxide gas exhaled; a facial helmet; the necessary valves, tubes, etc., for the control of the oxygen; and a finimeter which registers the contents of the cylinders in atmospheres and minutes of duration. The two cartridges used for absorbing the carbonic acid gas are of no value after having been in use for two hours.

If inhalation is through the mouth alone, a mouthpiece is attached to the end of the breathing tube by which the air or oxygen is supplied, the nose is closed by a clip, and the eyes are protected by goggles. To inhale through both nose and mouth, the miner wears a helmet or headgear which can be made to fit tightly around the face. The helmet has two tubes attached, one for inspiration and the other for expiration. In the oxygen-cylinder apparatus these tubes lead to and from rubber sacks used for pure-air and bad-air reserves.

Mine-Rescue Training.

It has been found in actual service that when a miner, equipped with breathing apparatus for the first time, enters a mine in which an explosion has occurred, he is soon overcome by excitement or nervousness induced by the artificial conditions of breathing imposed by the apparatus, the darkness and heat, and the consciousness that he is surrounded with poisonous gases. It has also been found that a brief period of training in the use of such apparatus, under conditions simulating those encountered in a mine after a disaster, gives the miner confidence and enables him to use the apparatus successfully under the strain of the vigorous exertion incident to rescue work.

The rescue corps consists of five or six miners under the direction of a mining engineer who is experienced in rescue operations and familiar with the conditions existing after mine disasters. The miners work in pairs, so that one may assist the other in case of accident, or of injury to the breathing apparatus, and so that each may watch the condition of the oxygen supply, as shown by the gauges in the other's outfit.

The training is given in the gas-tight room of Building No. 17, or in similar rooms at sub-stations (Fig. 2, Plate XII). This room is made absolutely dark, and is filled with formaldehyde gas, SO{2}, CO{2}, or CO, produced by burning sulphur or charcoal on braziers. At each period of training, the miners enter and walk a distance of about 1 mile, the average distance usually traveled from the mine mouth to the working face or point of explosion. They then remove a number of timbers; lift a quantity of brick or hard lump-coal into wheel-barrows; climb through artificial tunnels, up and down inclines, and over surfaces strewn with coal or stone; operate a machine with a device attached to it, which automatically records the foot-pounds of work done; and perform other vigorous exercise, during a period of 2 hours. This routine is repeated daily during 1 week, after which the rescue corps is considered sufficiently trained for active service.

The apparatus used for recording the foot-pounds of work done by the person operating the work machine within the gas-tight rescue room, comprises a small dial with electrical connections, which records the number of strokes made by the machine, and a pencil point which rests on a paper diaphragm, fastened to a horizontal brass disk. This disk is driven by clockwork, and makes one complete revolution per hour. When the machine is in operation, the pencil point works back and forth, making a broad line on the paper; when the operator of the machine rests, the pencil point traces a single line. The apparatus thus records the number of strokes given by the operator during a given time. From the weight lifted, the height of lift, and the number of strokes in the given time, the foot-pounds of work are readily calculated.

Electric Testing Apparatus.

On the ground floor of Building No. 10, two rooms are occupied as laboratories for investigating the electrical equipment used in mining operations. The purpose of these investigations is to ascertain the conditions under which electricity of various voltages may be used with safety—in mine haulage, hoisting, pumping, or lighting—in the presence of dangerous mixtures of explosive gases or of dust. It is also proposed to test various kinds of insulation and insulators in this laboratory, and to determine the durability of such insulation in the presence of such corrosive gases and water as are found in mines.

A water-proof wooden tank, measuring 15 by 5 by 5 ft., is installed, in which insulation and insulating materials are tested under either pure or polluted water. Various electric lighting devices and equipment can be connected from a switch-board in Building No. 17 with Gas-and-Dust Gallery No. 2, for testing the effect of such lighting apparatus in the presence of explosive mixtures of gas and dust, as set forth on page 220.

In the electrical laboratory, Building No. 10, is a booster set developing 60 kw., and an appropriate switch-board for taking direct current at 220 volts from the turbo-generator and converting it into current varying from 0 to 750 volts. There are also transformers for developing 60-cycle, alternating current at voltages of from 110 to 2,200. The switch-board is designed to handle these various voltages and to communicate them to the apparatus under test in Building No. 10, Gallery No. 2, or elsewhere.

Tests are in progress of insulating materials for use in mines, and of electric fuses, lights, etc., in Gallery No. 2 (Fig. 3, Plate X), and in the lamp-testing box (Fig. 2, Plate XI). It is proposed, at the earliest possible date, to make comparative tests of the safety of various mine locomotives and mine-hoisting equipment through the medium of this laboratory, and it is believed that the results will furnish valuable information as a guide to the safety, reliability, and durability of these appliances when electrically operated.

Electric Lamp and Fuse Testing Box.—An apparatus for testing safety lamps and electric lights and fuses, consists of -in. iron plates, bolted together with 1 in. angle-irons to form a box with inside dimensions of 18 by 18 by 24 in. The box is placed on a stand at such a height that the observation windows are on a level with the observer's eye (Fig. 2, Plate XI), and it is connected, by a gas-pipe, with a supply of natural gas which can be measured by a gas-holder or meter alongside the box.

By the use of this apparatus the effect of explosive gas on flames, of electric sparks on explosive mixtures of gas and air, and of breaking electric lamps in an explosive mixture of gas and air, may be studied. The safety lamps are introduced into the box from beneath, through a hole 6 in. square, covered with a hinged iron lid, admission to which is had through a flexible rubber sleeve, 20 in. long.

The behavior of the standard safety lamp and of the safety lamps undergoing test may be compared in this box as to height of flame for different percentages of methane in the air, the effect of such flames in igniting gas, etc.

In each end of the box is an opening 1 ft. square, over which may be placed a paper diaphragm held by skeleton doors, the purpose of which is to confine the gas in such a manner that, should an explosion occur, no damage would be done. In the front of the box are two plate-glass observing windows, 2-5/8 by 5 in. In the side of the box, between the two windows, is a 3/8-in. hole, which can be closed by a tap-screw, through which samples for chemical analysis are drawn.

The gasometer consists of two iron cans, the lower one being open at the top and filled with water and the upper one open at the bottom and suspended by a counterweight. The latter has attached to its upper surface a scale which moves with it, thereby measuring the amount of gas in the holder. A two-way cock permits the admission of gas into the gasometer and thence into the testing box.

Gas-and-Dust Gallery No. 2.—This gallery is constructed of sheet steel and is similar to Gallery No. 1, the length, however, being only 30 ft. and the diameter 10 ft. It rests on a concrete foundation (Fig. 3, Plate X). Diaphragms can be placed across either extremity, or at various sections, to confine the mixtures of gas and air in which the tests are made. The admission of gas is controlled by pipes and valves, and the gas and air can be stirred or mixed by a fan, as described for Gallery No. 1, and as shown by Fig. 1.

Gallery No. 2 is used for investigating the effect of flames of various lamps, of electric currents, motors, and coal-cutting machines, in the presence of known mixtures of explosive gas and air. It is also used for testing the length of flame of safety lamps in still air carrying various proportions of methane, and, for this purpose, is more convenient than the lamp gallery. In tests with explosive mixtures, after the device to be tested has been introduced and preparations are completed, operations are controlled from a safe distance by a switch-board in a building near-by.

Among other investigations conducted in this gallery are those of the effect of sparks on known gas mixtures. These sparks are such as those struck from a pick on flint, but in this case they are produced by rubbing a rapidly revolving emery wheel against a steel file. The effect of a spark produced by a short circuit of known voltage, the flame from an arc lamp, etc., may also be studied in this gallery.


The structural materials investigations are being conducted for the purpose of determining the nature and extent of the materials available for use in the building and construction work of the Government, and how these materials may be used most efficiently.

These investigations include:

(1).—Inquiries into the distribution and local availability, near each of the building centers in the United States, of such materials as are needed by the Government.

(2).—How these materials may be used most efficiently.

(3).—Their fire-resisting qualities and strength at different temperatures.

(4).—The best and most economic methods of protecting steel by fire-resistant covering.

(5).—The most efficient methods of proportioning and mixing the aggregate, locally available, for different purposes.

(6).—The character and value of protective coatings, or of various mixes, to prevent deterioration by sea water, alkali, and other destructive agencies.

(7).—The kinds and forms of reinforcement for concrete necessary to secure the greatest strength in beams, columns, floor slabs, etc.

(8).—Investigation of the clays and of the products of clays needed in Government works, as to their strength, durability, suitability as fire-resisting materials, and the methods of analyzing and testing clay products.

(9).—Tests of building stones, and investigations as to their availability near the various building centers throughout the United States.

The operations of the Structural Materials Division include investigations into cement-making materials, constituent materials of concrete, building stones, clays, clay products, iron, steel, and miscellaneous materials of construction, for the use of the Government. The organization comprises a number of sections, including those for the chemical and physical examination of Departmental purchases; field sampling and laboratory examination of constituent materials of concrete collected by skilled field inspectors in the neighborhood of the larger commercial and building centers; similar field sampling of building stones and of clays and clay products, offered for use in Government buildings or engineering construction; and the forwarding of such samples to the testing laboratories at St. Louis or Pittsburg for investigation and test. The investigative tests include experiments regarding destructive agencies, such as electrolysis, alkaline earths and waters, salt water, fire, and weathering; also experiments with protective and water-proofing agencies, including the various washes or patented mixtures on the market, and the methods of washing, and mixing mortars and concrete, which are likely to result in rendering such materials less pervious to water.

Investigations are also being conducted to determine the nature and extent of materials available for use in the building-construction work of the Government, and how these materials may be used most efficiently and safely. While the act authorizing this work does not permit investigations or tests for private parties, it is believed that these tests for the Government cannot fail to be of great general value. The aggregate expenditure by the Federal Government in building and engineering construction is about $40,000,000 annually. This work is being executed under so many different conditions, at points so widely separated geographically, and requires so great a variety of materials, that the problems to be solved for the Government can hardly fail to cover a large share of the needs of the Engineering Profession, State and municipal governments, and the general public.

Character of the Work.—The tests and analyses, of the materials of construction purchased by the various bureaus and departments for the use of the Government, are to determine the character, quality, suitability, and availability of the materials submitted, and to ascertain data leading to more accurate working values as a basis for better working specifications, so as to enable Government officials to use such materials with more economy and increased efficiency.

Investigative tests of materials entering into Government construction, relative to the larger problems involved in the use of materials purchased by the Government, include exhaustive study of the suitability for use, in concrete construction on the Isthmian Canal, of the sand and stone, and of the cementing value of pozzuolanic material, found on the Isthmus; the strength, elasticity, and chemical properties of structural steel for canal lock-gates; of wire rope and cables for use in hoisting and haulage; and the most suitable sand and stone available for concrete and reinforced concrete for under-water construction, such as the retaining walls being built by the Quartermaster's Department of the Army, in San Francisco Harbor.

These tests also include investigations into the disintegrating effect of alkaline soil and water on the concrete and reinforced concrete structures of the Reclamation Service, with a view to preventing such disintegration; investigations into the proper proportions and dimensions of concrete and reinforced concrete structural columns, beams, and piers, and of walls of brick and of building stone, and of the various types of metal used for reinforcement by the Supervising Architect in the construction of public buildings; investigations into the sand, gravel, and broken stone available for local use in concrete construction, such as columns, piers, arches, floor slabs, etc., as a guide to the more economical design of public structures, and to determine the proper method of mixing the materials to render the concrete most impervious to water and resistant to weather and other destructive agencies.

Other lines of research may be stated briefly as follows:

The extent to which concrete made from cement and local materials can be most safely and efficiently used for different purposes under different conditions;

The best methods for mixing and utilizing the various constituent materials locally available for use in Government construction;

The materials suitable for the manufacture of cement on the public lands, or where the Government has planned extensive building or engineering construction work, where no cement plants now exist;

The kinds and forms of reinforcement for concrete, and the best methods of applying them in order to secure the greatest strength in compression, tension, shear, etc., in reinforced concrete beams, columns, floor slabs, etc.;

The influence of acids, oils, salts, and other foreign materials, long-continued strain, or electric currents, on the permanence of the steel in reinforced concrete;

The value of protective coatings as preventives of deterioration of structural materials by destructive agencies; and

The establishment of working stresses for various structural materials needed by the Government in its buildings.

Investigations are being made into the effects of fire and the rate of conductivity of heat on concrete and reinforced concrete, brick, tile, building stone, etc., as a guide to the use of the most suitable materials for fire-proof building construction and the proper dimensioning of fire-resistive coverings.

Investigations and tests are being made, with a view to the preparation of working specifications for use in Government construction, of bricks, tile, sand-lime brick, paving brick, sewer pipe, roofing slates, flooring tiles, cable conduits, electric insulators, architectural terra cotta, fire-brick, and all shapes of refractories and other clay products, regarding which no satisfactory data for the preparation of specifications of working values now exist.

Investigations of the clay deposits throughout the United States are in progress, to determine proper methods of converting them into building brick, tile, etc., at the most reasonable cost, and the suitability of the resulting material for erection in structural forms and to meet building requirements.

Investigations are being made in the field, of building stones locally available, and physical and chemical tests of these building stones to determine their bearing or crushing strength; the most suitable mortars for use with them; their resistance to weathering; their fire-resistive and fire-proof qualities, etc., regarding which practically no adequate information is available as a guide to Government engineering and building design.

Results Accomplished.—During one period of six months alone, more than 2,500 samples, taken from Government purchases of structural materials, were examined, of which more than 300 failed to meet the specified requirements, representing many thousands of dollars worth of inferior material rejected, which otherwise would have been paid for by the Government. These tests were the means of detecting the inferior quality of large quantities of materials delivered on contracts, and the moral effect on bidders has proven as important a factor in the maintenance of a high quality of purchases, as in the saving of money.

The examination of sands, gravels, and crushed stones, as constituent materials for concrete and reinforced concrete construction, has developed data showing that certain materials, locally available near large building centers and previously regarded as inferior in quality, were, in fact, superior to other and more expensive materials which it had been proposed to use.

These investigations have represented an actual saving in the cost of construction on the work of the Isthmian Canal Commission, of the Supervising Architect, and of certain States and cities which have benefited by the information disseminated regarding these constituent materials.

Investigations of clay products, only recently inaugurated, have already resulted in the ascertainment of important facts relative to the colloid matter of clay and its measurement, and the bearing thereof on the plasticity and working values of various clays. The study of the preliminary treatment of clays difficult to handle dry, has furnished useful information regarding the drying of such clays, and concerning the fire resistance of bricks made of soft, stiff, or dried clay of various densities.

The field collection and investigation of building-stone samples have developed some important facts which had not been considered previously, relative to the effect of quarrying, in relation to the strike and dip of the bedding planes of building stone, and the strength and durability of the same material when erected in building construction. These investigations have also developed certain fundamental facts relative to the effects of blasting (as compared with channeling or cutting) on the strength and durability of quarried building stone.

Mineral Chemistry Laboratories.—Investigations and analyses of the materials of engineering and building construction are carried on at Pittsburg in four of the larger rooms of Building No. 21. In this laboratory, are conducted research investigations into the effect of alkaline waters and soils on the constituent materials of concrete available in arid regions, as related to the life and permanency of the concrete and reinforced concrete construction of the Reclamation Service. These investigations include a study of individual salts found in particular alkalis, and a study of the results of allowing solutions of various alkalis to percolate through cylinders of cement mortar and concrete. Other research analyses have to do with the investigation of destructive and preservative agencies for concrete, reinforced concrete, and similar materials, and with the chemistry of the effects of salt water on concrete, etc. The routine chemical analyses of the constituent materials of concrete and cement-making materials, are made in this laboratory, as are also a large number of miscellaneous chemical analyses and investigations of reinforcement metal, the composition of building stones, and allied work.

A heat laboratory, in charge of Dr. J. K. Clement, occupies three rooms on the ground floor of Building No. 21, and is concerned chiefly with the measurement of temperatures in gas producers, in the furnaces of steam boilers, kilns, etc. The work includes determinations of the thermal conductivity of fire clays, concrete, and other building materials, and of their fire-resisting properties; measurements of the thermal expansion and specific heats of fire-bricks, porcelain, and glazes; and investigations of the effect of temperature variations on the various chemical processes which take place in the fuel bed of the gas producer, boiler furnace, etc.

The heat laboratory is equipped for the calibration of the thermometers and pyrometers, and electrical and other physical apparatus used by the various sections of the Technologic Branch.

For convenience in analyzing materials received from the various purchasing officers attached to the Government bureaus, this work is housed in a laboratory on the fourth floor of the Geological Survey Building in Washington.

Large quantities and many varieties of building materials for use in public buildings under contract with the Supervising Architect's office, are submitted to the laboratory by contractors to determine whether or not they meet the specified requirements. Further examinations are made of samples submitted by superintendents of construction, representing material actually furnished by contractors. It is frequently found that the sample of material submitted by the contractor is of far better quality than that sent by the superintendent to represent deliveries. The needed constant check on deliveries is thus provided.

In addition to this work for the office of the Supervising Architect, similar work on purchases and supplies is carried on for the Isthmian Canal Commission, the Quartermaster-General's Department of the Army, the Life Saving Service, the Reclamation Service, and other branches of the Government. About 300 samples are examined each month, requiring an average of 12 determinations per sample, or about 3,600 determinations per month.

The chemical laboratory for testing Government purchases of structural materials is equipped with the necessary apparatus for making the requisite physical and chemical tests. For the physical tests of cement, there are a tensile test machine, briquette moulds, a pat tank for boiling tests to determine soundness, water tanks for the storage of briquettes, a moist oven, apparatus to determine specific gravity, fineness of grinding, etc.

The chemical laboratory at Washington is equipped with the necessary analytical balances, steam ovens, baths, blast lamps, stills, etc., required in the routine chemical analysis of cement, plaster, clay, bricks and terra cotta, mineral paints and pigments, roofing material, tern plate and asphaltic compounds, water-proofing materials, iron and steel alloys, etc.

At present, materials which require investigative tests as a basis for the preparation of suitable specifications, tests not connected with the immediate determination as to whether or not the purchases are in accordance with the specifications, are referred to the chemical laboratories attached to the Structural Materials Division, at Pittsburg.

The inspection and tests of cement purchased in large quantities, such as the larger purchases on behalf of public-building construction under the Supervising Architect, or the great 4,500,000-bbl. contract of the Isthmian Canal Commission, are made in the cement-testing laboratory of the Survey, in the Lehigh Portland cement district, at Northampton, Pa.

Testing Machines.—The various structural forms into which concrete and reinforced concrete may be assembled for use in public-building construction, are undergoing investigative tests as to their compressive and tensile strength, resistance to shearing, modulus of elasticity, coefficient of expansion, fire-resistive qualities, etc. Similar tests are being conducted on building stone, clay products, and the structural forms in which steel and iron are used for building construction.

The compressive, tensile, and other large testing machines, for all kinds of structural materials reaching the testing stations, are under the general supervision of Richard L. Humphrey, M. Am. Soc. C. E. The immediate direction of the physical tests on the larger testing machines is in charge of Mr. H. H. Kaplan.

Most of this testing apparatus, prior to 1909, was housed in buildings loaned by the City of St. Louis, in Forest Park, St. Louis, Mo., and the arrangement of these buildings, details of equipment, organization, and methods of conducting the tests, are fully set forth in Bulletin No. 329 of the U.S. Geological Survey. In brief, this equipment included motor-driven, universal, four-screw testing machines, as follows: One 600,000-lb., vertical automatic, four-screw machine; one 200,000-lb., automatic, four-screw machine; and one 200,000-lb. and one 100,000-lb. machine of the same type, but with three screws. There are a number of smaller machines of 50,000, 40,000, 10,000, and 2,000 lb., respectively.

These machines are equipped so that all are available for making tensile and compressive tests (Fig. 1, Plate XIII). The 600,000-lb. machine is capable of testing columns up to 30-ft. lengths, and of making transverse tests of beams up to 25-ft. span, and tension tests for specimens up to 24 ft. in length. The smaller machines are capable of making tension and compressive tests up to 4 ft. in length and transverse beam tests up to 12 ft. span. In addition, there are ample subsidiary apparatus, including concrete mixers with capacities of and 1 cu. yd., five hollow concrete block machines, automatic sifting machines, briquette moulds, storage tanks, etc.

At the Atlantic City sub-station, there is also a 200,000-lb., universal, four-screw testing machine, with miscellaneous equipment for testing cement and moulding concrete, etc.; and at the Northampton sub-station, there is a complete equipment of apparatus for cement testing, capable of handling 10,000 bbl. per day.

At the Pittsburg testing station, a 10,000,000-lb., vertical, compression testing machine (Plate XIV), made by Tinius Olsen and Company, is being erected for making a complete series of comparative tests of various building stones of 2, 4, and 12-in. cube, of stone prisms, 12 in. base and 24 in. high, of concrete and reinforced concrete columns up to 65 ft. in height, and of brick piers and structural-steel columns up to the the limits of the capacity and height of the machine.

This machine is a large hydraulic press, with an adjustable head, and a weighing system for recording the loading developed by a triple-plunger pump. It has a maximum clearance of 65 ft. between heads; the clearance in the machine is a trifle more than 6 ft. between screws, and the heads are 6 ft. square.

The machine consists of a base containing the main cylinder, with a sectional area of 2,000 sq. in., upon which rests the lower platform or head, which is provided with a ball-and-socket bearing. The upper head is adjustable over four vertical screws, 13 in. in diameter and 72 ft. 2 in. long, by a system of gearing operating four nuts with ball-bearings upon which the head rests. The shafting operating this mechanism is connected with a variable-speed motor which actuates the triple-plunger pump supplying the pressure to the main cylinder (Fig. 4).

The weighing device consists of a set of standard Olsen levers for weighing one-eightieth of the total load on the main cylinder. This reduction is effected through the medium of a piston and a diaphragm. The main cylinder has a diameter of 50 in., and the smaller one, a diameter of 5-9/16 in. The weighing beam is balanced by an automatically-operated poise weight, and is provided with a device for applying successive counterweights of 1,000,000 lb. each. Each division on the dial is equivalent to a 100-lb. load, and smaller subdivisions are made possible by an additional needle-beam.

The power is applied by a 15-h.p., 220-volt, variable-speed motor operating a triple-plunger pump, the gearing operating the upper head being driven by the same motor. The extreme length of the main screws necessitates splicing, which is accomplished as follows:

In the center of the screws, at the splice, is a 3-in. threaded pin for centering the upper and lower screws; this splice is strengthened by sleeve nuts, split to facilitate their removal whenever it is necessary to lower the upper head; after the head has passed the splice, the sleeve nuts are replaced.

In order to maintain a constant load, a needle-valve has been provided, which, when the pump is operated at its lowest speed, will allow a sufficient quantity of oil to flow into the main cylinder to equalize whatever leakage there may be. The main cylinder has a vertical movement of 24 in. The speed of the machine, for the purpose of adjustment, using the gearing attached to the upper head, is 10 in. per min. The speed for applying loads, controlled by the variable-speed motor driving the pump, varies from a minimum of at least 1/60 in. per min. to a maximum of at least in. per min. The machine has a guaranteed accuracy of at least one-third of 1%, for any load of more than 100,000 lb., up to its capacity.

The castings for the base and the top head weigh approximately 48,000 lb. each. Each main screw weighs more than 40,000 lb., the lower platform weighing about 25,000 lb., and the main cylinder, 16,000 lb. The top of the machine will be about 70 ft. above the top of the floor, and the concrete foundation, upon which it rests, is about 8 ft. below the floor line.

Concrete and Cement Investigations.—The investigations relating to concrete include the examination of the deposits of sand, gravel, stone, etc., in the field, the collection of representative samples, and the shipment of these samples to the laboratory for analysis and test. These tests are conducted in connection with the investigation of cement mortars, made from a typical Portland cement prepared by thoroughly mixing a number of brands, each of which must meet the following requirements:

Specific gravity, not less than 3.10;

Fineness, residue not to exceed 8% on No. 100, nor 25% on No. 200 sieve;

Time of setting: Initial set, not less than 30 min.; hard set, not less than 1 hour, nor more than 10 hours.

Tensile strength: Requirements applying to neat cement and to 1 part cement with 3 parts standard sand:

- Neat cement. 1:3 Mix. Time specification. Pounds. Pounds. - 24 hours in moist air 175 ... 7 days (1 day in moist air, 500 175 6 days in water) 28 days (1 day in moist air, 600 250 27 days in water) -

Constancy of volume: Pats of neat cement, 3 in. in diameter, in. thick at center, tapering to a thin edge, shall be kept in moist air for a period of 24 hours. A pat is kept in air at normal temperature and observed at intervals for at least 28 days. Another pat is kept in water maintained as near 70 Fahr. as practicable, and is observed at intervals for at least 28 days. A third pat is exposed in an atmosphere of steam above boiling water, in a loosely-closed vessel, for 5 hours. These pats must remain firm and hard and show no signs of distortion, checking, cracking, or disfiguration.

The cement shall not contain more than 1.75% of anhydrous sulphuric acid, nor more than 4% of magnesium oxide.

A test of the neat cement must be made with each mortar series for comparison of the quality of the typical Portland cement.

The constituent materials are subjected to the following examination and determinations, and, in addition, are analyzed to determine the composition and character of the stone, sand, etc.:

1.—Mineralogical examination,

2.—Specific gravity,

3.—Weight, per cubic foot,

4.—Sifting (granulometric composition),

5.—Percentage of silt and character of same,

6.—Percentage of voids,

7.—Character of stone as to percentage of absorption, porosity, permeability, compressive strength, and behavior under treatment.

Physical tests are made to determine the tensile, compressive, and transverse strengths of the cement and mortar test pieces, with various preparations of cement and various percentages of material. Tests are also made to determine porosity, permeability, volumetric changes in setting, absorption, coefficient of expansion, effect of oil, etc.

Investigation of concretes made from mixtures of typical Portland cement, sand, stone, and gravel, includes tests on cylinders, prisms, cubes, and other standard test pieces, with various proportions of materials and at ages ranging from 30 to 360 days. Full-sized plain concrete beams, moulded building blocks, reinforced concrete beams, columns, floor slabs, arches, etc., are tested to determine the effect, character, and amount of reinforcement, the effect of changes in volume, size, and composition, and the effect of different methods of loading and of supporting these pieces, etc.

These investigations include detailed inquiry in the field and research in the chemical and physical laboratories regarding the effects of alkaline soils and waters on structures of concrete being built by the Reclamation Service in the arid regions. It has been noted that on certain of the Reclamation projects, notably on the Sun River Project, near Great Falls, Mont., the Shoshone Project, near Cody, Wyo., and the Carlsbad and Hondo Projects in the Pecos Valley, N. Mex., structures of concrete, reinforced concrete, building stones, brick, and tile, show evidence of disintegration. This is attributed to the effects of alkaline waters or soils coming into contact with the structures, or to the constituent materials used. In co-operation with the Reclamation Service, samples of the waters, soils, and constituent materials, are collected in the field, and are subjected to careful chemical examination in the mineral laboratories at Pittsburg.

The cylinders used in the percolation tests are composed of typical Portland cement mixed with sand, gravel, and broken stone of known composition and behavior, and of cement mixed with sand, gravel, and broken stone collected in the neighborhood of the Reclamation projects under investigation.

It is also proposed to subject these test pieces, some made with water of known purity, and others with alkaline water, to contact with alkaline soils near the projects, and with soil of known composition near the testing laboratories at Pittsburg. As these tests progress and other lines of investigation are developed, the programme will be extended, in the hope that the inquiry may develop methods of preparing and mixing concrete and reinforced concrete which can be used in alkaline soils without danger of disintegration.

Investigations into the effect of salt water on cement mortars and concretes, and the effect of electrolysis, are being conducted at Atlantic City, N.J., where the test pieces may be immersed in deep sea water for longer or shorter periods of time.

At the Pittsburg laboratory a great amount of investigative work is done for the purpose of determining the suitability and availability of various structural materials submitted for use by the Government. While primarily valuable only to the Government, the results of these tests are of indirect value to all who are interested in the use of similar materials. Among such investigations have been those relating to the strength, elasticity, and chemical properties of wire rope for use in the Canal Zone; investigations of the suitability and cementing value of concrete, sand, stone, and pozzuolanic material found on the Isthmus; investigations as to the relative resistance to corrosion of various types of wire screens for use in the Canal Zone; into the suitability for use, in concrete sea-wall construction, of sand and stone from the vicinity of San Francisco; into the properties of reinforced concrete floor slabs; routine tests of reinforcing metal, and of reinforced concrete beams and columns, for the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department, etc. The results have been set forth in three bulletins[9] which describe the methods of conducting these tests and also tests on constituent materials of concrete and plain concrete beams. In addition, there are in process of publication a number of bulletins giving the results of tests on reinforced concrete beams, columns, and floor slabs, concrete building blocks, etc.

The Northampton laboratory was established because it is in the center of the Lehigh cement district, and therefore available for the mill sampling and testing of purchases of cement made by the Isthmian Canal Commission; it is also available for tests of cement purchased in the Lehigh district by the Supervising Architect and others. It is in a building, the outer walls of which are of cement plaster applied over metal lath nailed to studding. The partitions are of the same construction, and the floors and roof are of concrete throughout.

The inspection at the factories and the sampling of the cement are under the immediate direction of the Commission; the testing is under the direction of the U.S. Geological Survey. A large force of employees is required, in view of the magnitude of the work, which includes the daily testing of consignments ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 bbl., sampled in lots of 100 bbl., which is equivalent to from 50 to 100 samples tested per day.

The cement to be sampled is taken from the storage bins and kept under seal by the chief inspector pending the results of the test. The quantity of cement sampled is sufficient for the tests required under the specifications of the Isthmian Canal Commission, as well as for preliminary tests made by the cement company, and check tests made at the Geological Survey laboratory, at Pittsburg.

The tests specified by the Commission include determination of specific gravity, fineness of grinding, time of setting, soundness, tensile strength (with three parts of standard quartz sand for 7 and 28 days, respectively), and determination of sulphur anhydride (SO_{3}), and magnesia (MgO).

The briquette-making and testing room is fitted with a mixing table, moist closet, briquette-storage tanks, and testing machines. The mixing table has a concrete top, in which is set plate glass, 18 in. square and 1 in. thick. Underneath the table are shelves for moulds, glass plates, etc.

The moist closet, 5 ft. high, 3 ft. 10 in. wide, and 1 ft. 8 in. deep, is divided into two compartments by a vertical partition, and each compartment is fitted with cleats for supporting thirteen tiers of glass plates. On each pair of cleats, in each compartment, can be placed four glass plates, each plate containing a 4-gang mould, making storage for 416 briquettes. With the exception of the doors, which are of wood lined with copper, the closet is of 1:1 cement mortar, poured monolithic, even to the cleats for supporting the glass plates.

The immersion tanks, of the same mortar, are in tiers of three, supported by a steel structure. They are 6 ft. long, 2 ft. wide, and 6 in. deep, and 2,000 briquettes can be stored in each tank. The overflow from the top tank wastes into the second, which, in turn, wastes into the third. Water is kept running constantly.

The briquette-testing machine is a Fairbanks shot machine with a capacity of 2,000 lb., and is regulated to apply the load at the rate of 600 lb. per min. Twenty-four 4-gang moulds, of the type recommended by the Special Committee on Uniform Tests of Cement, of the American Society of Civil Engineers, are used.

The room for noting time of set and soundness is fitted with a mixing table similar to that in the briquette-making room. The Vicat apparatus is used for determining the normal consistency, and the Gilmore apparatus for the time of setting. While setting, the soundness pats are stored in galvanized-iron pans having about 1 in. of water in the bottom, and covered with dampened felt or burlap. The pats rest on a rack slightly above the water and well below the felt.

For specific gravity tests, the Le Chatelier bottles are used. A pan, in which five bottles can be immersed at one time, is used for maintaining the benzine at a constant temperature. The samples are weighed on a pair of Troemner's No. 7 scales.

The fineness room is fitted with tables, two sets of standard No. 100 and No. 200 sieves, and two Troemner's No. 7 scales similar to those used for the specific gravity tests.

The storage room is fitted with shelves for the storage of samples being held for 28-day tests.

The mould-cleaning room contains tables for cleaning moulds, and racks for air pats.

An effort is made to keep all the rooms at a temperature of 70 Fahr., and, with this in view, a Bristol recording thermometer is placed in the briquette-room. Two wet-and-dry bulb hygrometers are used to determine the moisture in the air.

Samples are taken from the conveyor which carries the cement to the storage bins, at the approximate rate of one sample for each 100 bbl. After each 4,000-bbl. bin has been filled, it is sealed until all tests have been made, when, if these have been satisfactory, it is released for shipment.

The samples are taken in cans, 9 in. high and 7 in. in diameter. These cans are delivered in the preparation room where the contents are mixed and passed through a No. 20 sieve. Separate samples are then weighed out for mortar briquettes, for soundness pats, and for the specific-gravity and fineness tests. These are placed in smaller cans and a quantity sufficient for a re-test is held in the storage room awaiting the results of all the tests.

The sample for briquettes is mixed with three parts standard crushed quartz, and then taken to the briquette-making room, where eight briquettes are made, four for 7-day and four for 28-day tests. These are placed in the moist closet in damp air for 24 hours, then removed from the moulds, and placed in water for the remainder of the test period. At the proper time they are taken from the immersion tank and broken.

From the sample for soundness, four pats are made. The time of setting is determined on one of these pats. They are placed in the pan previously described, for 24 hours, then one is placed in running water and one in air for 28 days. The others are treated in the boiler, one in boiling water for 3 hours and one in steam at atmospheric pressure for 5 hours.

The sample taken for specific gravity and fineness is dried in the oven at 100 cent. in order to drive off moisture. Two samples are then carefully weighed out, 50 grammes for fineness and 64 grammes for specific gravity, and the determinations are made. As soon as anything unsatisfactory develops, a re-test is made. If, however, the cement satisfies all requirements, a report sheet containing all the data for a bin, is made out, and the cement is ready for shipment. From every fifth bin, special neat and mortar briquettes are made, which are intended for tests at ages up to ten years.

Salt-Water Laboratory.—The laboratory at Atlantic City, for conducting investigations into the effects of salt water on concrete and reinforced concrete, is situated so that water more than 25 ft. deep is available for immersion tests of the setting and deterioration of such materials.

Through the courtesy of the municipality of Atlantic City, Young's cottage, on old Young's Pier, has been turned over, at a nominal rental, to the Geological Survey for the conduct of these tests. The laboratory building is about 700 ft. from the boardwalk, and occupies a space about 100 by 45 ft. It is one story high, of frame-cottage construction, and stands on wooden piles at one side of the pier proper and about 20 ft. above the water, which is about 19 ft. deep at this point. Fresh running water, gas, electric light, and electric power are supplied to the building (Fig. 6).

In this laboratory investigations will be made of the cause of the failure and disintegration of cement and concrete subjected to the action of sea water. Tests are conducted so as to approach, as nearly as possible, the actual conditions found in concrete construction along the sea coast. All sea-water tests are made in the ocean, some will probably be paralleled by ocean-water laboratory tests and all by fresh-water comparative tests.

Cements, in the form of pats, briquettes, cubes, cylinders, and in a loose ground state, and also mortars and concretes in cube, cylinder, and slab form, are subjected to sea water.

The general plan for the investigations is as follows:

1.—Determination of the failing elements and the nature of the failure;

2.—Determination of the value of the theories advanced at the present time; and,

3.—Determination of a method of eliminating or chemically recombining the injurious elements.

Preliminary tests are in progress, including a study of the effect of salt water on mortars and concretes of various mixtures and ages. The proportions of these mixtures and the methods of mixing will be varied from time to time, as suggested by the progress of the tests.

Fire-Proofing Tests.—Tests of the fire-proofing and fire-resistive properties of various structural materials are carried on in the laboratories in Building No. 10, at Pittsburg, and in co-operation with the Board or Fire Underwriters at its Chicago laboratory (Fig. 2, Plate XIII). These tests include three essential classes of material: (a), clay products, protective coverings representative of numerous varieties of brick and fire-proofing tiles, including those on the market and those especially manufactured for these tests in the laboratory at Pittsburg; (b), characteristic granites of New England, with subsequent tests of the various building stones found throughout the United States; and (c), cement and concrete covering material, building blocks, and concrete reinforced by steel bars embedded at different depths for the purpose of studying the effect of expansion on the protective covering.

In co-operation with the physical laboratory, these tests include a study of the relative rates of conductivity of cement mortars and concretes. By embedding thermo-couples in cylinders composed of the materials under test, obtaining a given temperature by an electric coil, and noting the time required to raise the temperature at the various embedded couples to a given degree, the rate of conductivity may be determined. Other tests include those in muffles to determine the rate of expansion and the effect of heat and compressive stresses combined on the compressive strength of the various structural materials. The methods of making the panel tests, and the equipment used, are described and illustrated in Bulletin No. 329, and the results of the tests have been published in detail.[10]

Building Stones Investigations.—The field investigations of building stones are conducted by Mr. E. F. Burchard, and include the examination of the various deposits found throughout the United States. A study of the granites of New England has been commenced, which includes the collection of type specimens of fine, medium, and coarse-grained granites, and of dark, medium, and light-gray or white granites. A comparative series of these granites, consisting of prisms and cubes of 4 and 2 in., respectively, has been prepared.

The standard adopted for compressive test pieces in the 10,000,000-lb. machine is a prism, having a base of 12 in. and being 24 in. high. The tests include not only those for compression or crushing strength, but also those for resistance to compressive strains of the prisms and cubes, when raised to high temperatures in muffles or kilns; resistance to weathering, freezing, and thawing; porosity; fire-resisting qualities, etc.

In collecting field samples, special attention is paid to the occurrence of the stone, extent of the deposit, strike, dip, etc., and specimens are procured having their faces cut with reference to the bedding planes, in order that compressive and weathering tests may be made, not only in relation to these planes but at those angles thereto in which the material is most frequently used commercially. Attention is also paid to the results of blasting, in its relation to compressive strains, as blasting is believed to have a material effect on stones, especially on those which may occur in the foundations of great masonry dams, and type specimens of stone quarried by channeling, as well as by blasting, are collected and tested.

Clay and Clay Products Investigations.—These investigations are in charge of Mr. A. V. Bleininger, and include the study of the occurrence of clay beds in various parts of the United States, and the adaptability of each clay to the manufacture of the various clay products.

Experiments on grinding, drying, and burning the materials are conducted at the Pittsburg testing station, to ascertain the most favorable conditions for preparing and burning each clay, and to determine the most suitable economic use to which it may be put, such as the manufacture of building or paving bricks, architectural tiles, sewer tiles, etc.

The laboratory is equipped with various grinding and drying devices, muffles, kilns, and apparatus for chemical investigations, physical tests, and the manufacture and subsequent investigative tests of clay products.

This section occupies the east end of Building No. 10, and rooms on the first and second floors have been allotted for this work. In addition, a brick structure, 46 by 30 ft., provided with a 60-ft. iron stack, has been erected for housing the necessary kilns and furnaces.

On the ground floor of Building No. 10, adjoining the cement and concrete section, is a storage room for raw materials and product under investigation. Adjoining this room, and connecting with it by wide doors, is the grinding room, containing a 5-ft. wet pan, with 2,000-lb. rollers, to be used for both dry and wet grinding. Later, a heavy dry pan is to be installed. With these machines, even the hardest material can be easily disintegrated and prepared. In this room there is also a jaw crusher for reducing smaller quantities of very hard material, as well as a 30 by 16-in. iron ball mill, for fine grinding. These machines are belted to a line shaft along the wall across the building. Ample sink drainage is provided for flushing and cleaning the wet pan, when changing from one clay to another.

A large room adjoining is for the operation of all moulding and shaping machines, representing the usual commercial processes. At present these include an auger machine, with a rotary universal brick and tile cutter, Fig. 1, Plate XVI, and a set of brick and special dies, a hand repress for paving brick, and a hand screw press for dry pressing. The brick machine is operated from the main shaft which crosses the building in this room and is driven from a 50-h.p. motor. It is possible thus to study the power consumption under different loads and with different clays, as well as with varying degrees of water content in the clay. As the needs of the work demand it, other types of machines are to be installed. For special tests in which pressure is an important factor it is intended to fit up one of the compression testing machines of the cement section with the necessary dies, thus enabling the pressing to be carried on under known pressures. Crushing, transverse, and other tests of clay products are made on the testing machines of the cement and concrete laboratories.

Outside of the building, in a lean-to, there is a double-chamber rattler for the testing of paving brick according to the specifications of the National Brick Manufacturers' Association.

In the smaller room adjoining the machine laboratory there are two small wet-grinding ball mills, of two and four jars, respectively, and also a 9-leaf laboratory filter press.

The remaining room on the first floor is devoted to the drying of clays and clay wares. The equipment consists of a large sheet-iron drying oven of special construction, which permits of close regulation of the temperature (Fig. 7). It is heated by gas burners, and is used for the preliminary heat treatment of raw clays, in connection with the study of the drying problems of certain raw materials. It is intended to work with temperatures as high as 250 cent.

Another drying closet, heated by steam coils (Fig. 8), intended for drying various clay products, has been designed with special reference to the exact regulation of the temperature, humidity, and velocity of the air flowing through it. Both dryers connect by flues with an iron stack outside the building. This stack is provided with a suction fan, driven by a belt from an electric motor.

On the second floor are the chemical, physical, and research laboratories, dealing with the precise manipulations of the tests and investigations.

The chemical laboratory is fully equipped with the necessary apparatus for carrying on special chemical research in silicate chemistry, including electrical resistance furnaces, shaking devices, etc. It is not the intention to do routine work in this laboratory. The office adjoins this laboratory, and near it is the physical laboratory, devoted to the study of the structure of raw materials. The latter contains Nobel and Schoene elutriators, together with viscosimeters of the flow and the Coulomb and Clark electrical types, sieves, voluminometers, colorimeters, vernier shrinkage gauges, micrometers, microscopes, and the necessary balances.

The room across the hall is devoted to the study of the specific gravity, absorption, porosity, permeability, hardness, translucency, etc., of burnt-clay products, all the necessary apparatus being provided. In the two remaining rooms, intended for research work, special apparatus adapted to the particular investigation may be set up. All the rooms are piped for water, gas, compressed air, steam, and drainage, and wired for light and power.

In the kiln house there is a test kiln adapted for solid fuel and gas. It is of the down-draft type, with an available burning space of about 8 cu. ft. (Fig. 9). For heavier ware and the study of the fire behavior of clay products under conditions approaching those of practice, a round down-draft kiln, with an inside diameter of 6 ft., is installed. About 13 ft. above the floor level, and supported by iron beams, there is a flue parallel to the long side of the structure. This flue conducts the gases of the kilns to the stack, which is symmetrically located with reference to the kiln house. Natural gas is the principal fuel. In addition to these kilns, a small muffle furnace, fired with petroleum, is provided for the determination of melting points, and an electric carbon resistance furnace, with an aluminum muffle for high-temperature work. For crucible-fusion work, a gas-fired pot furnace is installed.

Along the north wall, bins are provided for the storage of fuel, clay, sand, and other kiln supplies. There are two floor drainage sinks, and electric current, steam, water, and compressed air, are provided.

Results of the Work.—More than 39,300 separate test pieces have been made at the structural-materials testing laboratory. In connection with the study of these, 86,000 tests and nearly 14,000 chemical analyses have been made. Of these tests more than 13,600 have been of the constituent materials of concrete, including tensile tests of cement briquettes, compression tests of cylinders and cubes, and transverse tests of various specimens.

Nearly 1,200 beams of concrete or reinforced concrete, each 13 ft. long and 8 by 11 in. in cross-section, have been made, and, in connection with the investigation of the behavior of these beams, nearly 3,000 tests have been made. Nearly 900 of these beams, probably more than double the entire number made in other laboratories in the United States, during a period of more than 15 years, have been tested.

In the section of building blocks, 2,200 blocks have been tested, including, with auxiliary pieces, more than 4,500 tests; also, more than 900 pieces of concrete have been tested for permeability and shear. The physical tests have numbered 14,000; tests of steel for reinforcement, 3,800; and 550 tests to determine fire-resistive qualities of various building materials, have been made on 30 special panels, and on miscellaneous pieces.

The tests of the permeability of cement mortars and concretes, and of water-proofing and damp-proofing materials, have numbered 3,470.

The results of the work of the Structural Materials Division have already appeared in preliminary bulletins, as follows: No. 324, "San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18, 1906, and Their Effects on Structures and Structural Materials"; No. 329, "Organization, Equipment, and Operation of the Structural-Materials Testing Laboratories at St. Louis, Mo."; No. 331, "Portland Cement Mortars and Their Constituent Materials" (based on nearly 25,000 tests); No. 344, "Strength of Concrete Beams" (based on tests of 108 beams); No. 370, "Fire-Resistive Properties of Various Building Materials"; No. 387, "The Colloid Matter of Clay and its Measurements." A bulletin on the results of tests of reinforced concrete beams, one on the manufacture and chemistry of lime, and one on drying tests of brick, are in course of publication.


The scope of the fuel investigations has been planned to conform to the provisions of the Act of Congress which provides for analyzing and testing coals, lignites, and other mineral fuel substances belonging to the United States, or for the use of the United States Government, and examinations for the purpose of increasing the general efficiency or available supply of the fuel resources in the United States.

In conformity with this plan, the investigations inaugurated at St. Louis had for their initial object the analyzing and testing of the coals of the United States, using in this work samples of from 1 to 3 carloads, collected with great care from typical localities in the more important coal fields of the country, with a view to determining the relative values of those different fuels. In the work at Norfolk, during 1907, this purpose was modified to the extent of keeping in view relative fuel efficiencies for naval purposes. The tests at Denver have been on coal from Government land or from land contiguous thereto, and are conducted solely with a view to perfecting methods of coking this coal by prior washing and by manipulation in the process of coking.

Three general lines of inquiry are embodied in the plan of investigation undertaken and contemplated by the Technologic Branch, after conference and with the advice and approval of the Advisory Board: 1. The ascertainment of the best mode of utilizing any fuel deposit owned or to be used by the Government, or the fuel of any extensive deposit as a whole, by conducting a more thorough investigation into its combustion under steam boilers, conversion into producer gas, or into coke, briquettes, etc. 2. The prevention of waste, through the study of the possibility of improvement in the methods of mining, shipping, utilizing, etc. 3. The inspection and analysis of coal and lignite purchased under specification for the use of the Government, to ascertain its heating value, ash, contained moisture, etc.

The first general line of work concerns the investigation and testing of the fuel resources of the United States, and especially those belonging to the Federal Government, to determine a more efficient and more economical method of utilizing the same. This work has developed along the following lines:

The collection of representative samples for chemical analysis, and calorimeter tests by a corps of skilled mine samplers, from the mines selected as typical of extensive deposits of coal in a given field or from a given bed of coal; and the collection from the same mines of larger samples of from 1 to 3 carloads, shipped to the testing station for tests in boiler furnaces, gas producers, etc., as a check on the analysis and calorimeter tests;

The testing of each coal received to determine the most efficient and least wasteful method of use in different furnaces suitable for public buildings or power plants or ships of the Government;

The testing of other portions of the same shipment of coal in the gas producer, for continuous runs during periods of a few days up to several weeks, in order to determine the availability of this fuel for use in such producers, and the best method of handling it, to determine the conditions requisite to produce the largest amount of high-grade gas available for power purposes;

The testing of another portion of the same coal in a briquette machine at different pressures and with different percentages and kinds of binder, in order to determine the feasibility of briquetting the slack or fine coal. Combustion tests are then made of these briquettes, to determine the conditions under which they may be burned advantageously;

Demonstrations, on a commercial scale, of the possibility of producing briquettes from American lignites, and the relative value of these for purposes of combustion as compared with the run-of-mine coal from which the briquettes are made;

The finding of cheaper binders for use in briquetting friable coals not suited for coking purposes;

Investigations into the distribution, chemical composition, and calorific value of the peat deposits available in those portions of the United States where coal is not found, and the preparation of such peat for combustion, by drying or briquetting, to render it useful as a local substitute for coal;

Investigations into the character of the various petroleums found throughout the United States, with a view to determining their calorific value, chemical composition, and the various methods whereby they may be made most economically available for more efficient use as power producers, through the various methods of combustion;

Investigations and tests into the relative efficiency, as power producers in internal-combustion engines, of the heavier distillates of petroleum, as well as of kerosene and gasoline, in order to ascertain the commercial value and relative efficiency of each product in the various types of engines;

Investigations into the most efficient methods of utilizing the various coals available throughout the United States for heating small public buildings, army posts, etc., in order that these coals may be used more economically than at present;

Investigative studies into the processes of combustion within boiler furnaces and gas producers to ascertain the temperatures at which the most complete combustion of the gases takes place, and the means whereby such temperatures may be produced and maintained, thus diminishing the loss of values up the smokestack and the amount of smoke produced;

Investigations and tests into the possibilities of coking coals which have hitherto been classed as non-coking, and the making of comparative tests of all coals found in the United States, especially those from the public lands of the West;

Investigations, by means of washing in suitable machines, to determine the possibility of improving the quality of American coals for various methods of combustion, and with a view to making them more available for the production of coke of high-grade metallurgical value, as free as possible from sulphur and other injurious substances.

At each stage of the process of testing, samples of the coal have been forwarded to the chemical laboratory for analyses; combustion temperatures have been measured; and samples of gas collected from various parts of the combustion chambers of the gas producers and boiler furnaces have been analyzed, in order that a study of these data may throw such light on the processes of combustion and indicate such necessary changes in the apparatus, as might result in larger economies in the use of coal.

The second line of investigation concerns the methods of mining and preparing coal for the market, and the collection of mine samples of coal, oil, etc., for analysis and testing. It is well known that, under present methods of mining, from 10 to 75% of any given deposit of coal is left underground as props and supports, or as low-grade material, or in overlying beds broken up through mining the lower bed first. An average of 50% of the coal is thus wasted or rendered valueless, as it cannot be removed subsequently because of the caving or falling in of the roofs of abandoned galleries and the breaking up of the adjoining overlying beds, including coal, floor, and roof.

The investigations into waste in mining and the testing of the waste, bone, and slack coal in gas producers, as briquettes, etc., have, for their purpose, the prevention of this form of waste by demonstrating that these materials, now wasted, may be used profitably, by means of gas producers and engines, for power purposes.

The third general line of investigation concerns the inspection and sampling of fuel delivered to the Government under purchase contracts, and the analyzing and testing of the samples collected, to determine their heating value and the extent to which they may or may not comply with the specifications under which they are purchased. The coal delivered at the public buildings in the District of Columbia is sampled by special representatives of the Technologic Branch of the Survey. The taking of similar samples at public buildings and posts throughout the United States, and the shipment of the samples in hermetically sealed cans or jars to the chemical laboratory at Washington, is for the most part looked after by special officers or employees at each place. These purchases are made, to an increasing extent, under specifications which provide premiums for coal delivered in excess of standards, and penalties for deliveries below standards fixed in the specifications. The standard for bituminous coals is based mainly on the heat units, ash, and sulphur, while that for anthracite coal is based mainly on the percentage of ash and the heat units.

In connection with all these lines of fuel testing, certain research work, both chemical and physical, is carried on to determine the true composition and properties of the different varieties of coal, the changes in the transformation from peat to lignite, from lignite to bituminous coal, and from bituminous to anthracite coal, and the chemical and physical processes in combustion. Experiments are conducted concerning the destructive distillation of fuels; the by-products of coking processes; the spontaneous combustion of coal; the storage of coal, and the loss in value in various methods of storing; and kindred questions, such as the weathering of coal. These experiments may yield valuable results through careful chemical research work supplemented by equally careful observations in the field.

Inspection and Mine Sampling.—In the Geological Survey Building, at Washington, coal purchased for Government use on a guaranteed-analysis or heat-value basis, is inspected and sampled.

Some of the employees on this work are constantly at the mines taking samples, or at public works inspecting coal for Government use, while others are stationed at Washington to look after the deliveries of coal to the many public buildings, and to collect and prepare samples taken from these deliveries for analysis, as well as to prepare samples received from public works and buildings in other parts of the country.

The preparation of these samples is carried on in a room in the basement of the building, where special machinery has been installed for this work. Fig. 10 shows a plan of this room and the arrangement of the sampling and crushing machinery.

The crushing of the coal produces great quantities of objectionable dust, and to prevent this dust from giving trouble outside the sampling room, the wooden partitions on three sides of the room (the fourth side being a masonry wall) are completely covered on the outside with galvanized sheet iron. The only openings to the room are two doors, which are likewise covered with sheet iron, and provided with broad flanges of the same material, in order to seal effectually the openings when the doors are shut. Fresh air is drawn into the room by a fan, through a pipe leading to the outer air. A dust-collecting system which carries the coal dust and spent air from the room, consists of an arrangement of 8-in. and 12-in. pipes leading from hoods, placed over the crushing machines, to the main furnace stack of the building. The draft in this stack draws all the dust from the crushers directly through the hoods to the main pipe, where most of it is deposited.

The equipment of the sampling room consists of one motor-driven, baby hammer crusher, which has a capacity of about 1 ton per hour and crushes to a fineness of -in. mesh; one adjustable chipmunk jaw crusher, for 5- and 10-lb. samples; one set of 4 by 7-in. rolls, crushing to 60 mesh, for small samples; one large bucking board, and several different sizes of riffle samplers for reducing samples to small quantities. The small crushers are belted to a shaft driven by a separate motor from that driving the baby crusher.

In conducting the inspection of departmental purchases of coal in Washington, the office is notified whenever a delivery of coal is to be made at one of the buildings, and an inspector is sent, who remains during the unloading of the coal. He is provided with galvanized-iron buckets having lids and locks; each bucket holds about 60 lb. of coal. In these buckets he puts small quantities of the coal taken from every portion of the delivery, and when the delivery has been completed, he locks the buckets and notifies the office to send a wagon for them. The buckets are numbered consecutively, and the inspector makes a record of these numbers, the date, point of delivery, quality of coal delivered, etc. The buckets are also tagged to prevent error. He then reports to the office in person, or by telephone, for assignment to another point in the city. All the samples are delivered to the crushing room in the basement of the Survey Building, to be prepared for analysis.[11]

Samples taken from coal delivered to points outside of Washington are taken by representatives of the department for which the coal is being purchased, according to instructions furnished them, and, from time to time, the regular inspectors are sent to see that these instructions are being complied with. These samples are crushed by hand, reduced to about 2 lb. at the point where they are taken, and sent to Washington, in proper air-tight containers, by mail or express, accompanied by appropriate descriptions.

Each sample is entered in the sample record book when received, and is given a serial number. For each contract a card is provided giving information relative to the contract. On this card is also entered the serial number of each sample of coal delivered under that contract.

After the samples are recorded, they are sent to the crushing room, where they are reduced to the proper bulk and fineness for analysis. They are then sent, in rubber-stoppered bottles, accompanied by blank analysis report cards and card receipts, one for each sample, showing the serial numbers, to the fuel laboratory for analysis. The receipt card for each sample is signed and returned to the inspection office, and when the analysis has been made, the analysis report card showing the result is returned. This result is entered at once on the contract card, and when all analyses have been received, covering the entire delivery of coal, the average quality is calculated, and the results are reported to the proper department.

The matter of supplying the Pittsburg plant with fuel for test purposes is also carried on from the Washington office. Preliminary to a series of investigations, the kinds and amounts of coal required are decided on, and the localities from which these coals are to be obtained are determined. Negotiations are then opened with the mine owners, who, in most cases, generously donate the coal. When the preliminaries have been arranged, an inspector is sent to the mine to supervise the loading and shipment of the coal. This inspector enters the mine and takes, for chemical analysis, small mine samples which are sent to the laboratory at Pittsburg in metal cans by mail, accompanied by proper identification cards. The results of the analysis are furnished to the experts in charge at the testing plant, for their information and guidance in the investigations for which the coal was shipped.

All samples for testing purposes are designated consecutively in the order of shipment, "Pittsburg No. 1," "Pittsburg No. 2," etc. A complete record of all shipments is kept on card forms at the Pittsburg plant, and a duplicate set of these is on file in the inspection office at Washington.

Analysis of Fuels.—The routine analyses of fuel used in the combustion tests at Pittsburg, and of the gases resulting from combustion or from explosions in the testing galleries, or sampled in the mines, are made in Building No. 21.[12] A small laboratory is also maintained on the second floor of the south end of Building No. 13, for analyses of gases resulting from combustion in the producer-gas plant, and from explosions in Galleries Nos. 1 and 2, etc. From four to six chemists are continually employed in this laboratory (in 8-hour shifts), during prolonged gas-producer tests, and three chemists are also employed in analyzing gases relating to mine explosions.

In addition to these gas analyses, there are also made in the main laboratory, analyses and calorific tests of all coal samples collected by the Geological Survey in connection with its land-classification work on the coal lands of the Western States. Routine analyses of mine, car, and furnace samples of fuels for testing, before and after washing and briquetting, before coking and the resultant coke, and extraction analyses of binders for briquettes, etc., are also made in this laboratory.

The fuel-testing laboratory at Washington is equipped with three Mahler bomb calorimeters and the necessary balances and chemical equipment required in the proximate analysis of coal. More than 650 deliveries of coal are sampled each month for tests, representing 50,000 tons purchased per month, besides daily deliveries, on ship-board, of 550,000 tons of coal for the Panama Railroad. The data obtained by these tests furnish the basis for payment. The tests cover deliveries of coal to the forty odd bureaus, and to the District Municipal buildings in Washington; to the arsenals at Watertown, Mass., Frankford, Pa., and Rock Island, Ill.; and to a number of navy yards, through the Bureau of Yards and Docks; to military posts in various parts of the country; for the Quartermaster-General's Department; to the Reclamation Service; to Indian Agencies and Soldiers' Homes; to several lighthouse districts; and to the superintendents of the various public buildings throughout the United States, through the Treasury Department; etc. During 1909, the average rate of reporting fuel samples was 540 per month, requiring, on an average, six determinations per sample, or about 3,240 determinations per month.

Fuel-Research Laboratories.—Smaller laboratories, occupying, on the average, three rooms each, are located in Building No. 21. One is used for chemical investigations and calorific tests of petroleum collected from the various oil fields of the United States; another is used for investigations relative to the extraction of coal and the rapidity of oxidization of coals by standard solutions of oxidizing agents; and another is occupied with investigations into the destructive distillation of coal. The researches under way show the wide variation in chemical composition and calorific value of the various crude oils, indicate the possibility of the extraction of coal constituents by solvents, and point to important results relative to the equilibrium of gases at high temperatures in furnaces and gas producers. The investigations also bear directly on the coking processes, especially the by-product process, as showing the varying proportion of each of the volatile products derivable from types of coals occurring in the various coal fields of the United States, the time and temperature at which these distillates are given off, the variation in quality and quantity of the products, according to the conditions of temperature, and, in addition, explain the deterioration of coals in storage, etc.

At the Washington office, microscopic investigations into the life history of coal, lignite, and peat are being conducted. These investigations have already progressed far enough to admit of the identification of some of the botanical constituents of the older peats and the younger lignites, and it is believed that the origin of the older lignites, and even of some of the more recent bituminous coals, may be developed through this examination.

In the chemical laboratories, in Building No. 21, the hoods (Figs. 11 and 12) are of iron, with a brick pan underneath. They are supported on iron pipes, as are most of the other fixtures in the laboratories in this building. The hood proper is of japanned, pressed-iron plate, No. 22 gauge, the same material being used for the boxes, slides, and bottom surrounding the hood. The sash is hung on red copper pulleys, and the corners of the hood are reinforced with pressed, japanned, riveted plate to which the ventilating pipe is riveted.

There is some variety in the cupboards and tables provided in the various laboratories, but, in general, they follow the design shown in Fig. 13. The table tops, 12 ft. long, are of clear maple in full-length pieces, 7/8 in. thick and 2-5/8 in. wide, laid on edge and drilled at 18-in. intervals for bolts. These pieces are glued and drawn together by the bolts, the heads of which are countersunk. The tops, planed off, sanded, and rounded, are supported on pipe legs and frames of 1 by 1-in. galvanized-iron pipe with screw flanges fitting to the floor and top. Under the tops are drawers and above them re-agent shelves. Halfway between the table top and the floor is a wire shelf of a frame-work of No. 2 wire interlaced with No. 12 weave of 5/8-in. square mesh.

Certain of the tables used in the laboratory are fitted with cupboards beneath and with drawers, and, in place of re-agent stands, porcelain-lined sinks are sunk into them. These tables follow, in general style and construction, the re-agent tables. The tables used in connection with calorimeter determinations are illustrated in Fig. 14. The sinks provided throughout these laboratories are of standard porcelain enamel, rolled rim, 18 by 13 in., with enameled back, over a sink and drain board, 24 in. long on the left side, though there are variations from this type in some instances.

The plumbing includes separate lines of pipe to each hood and table; one each for cold water, steam at from 5 to 10 lb. pressure, compressed air, natural gas, and, in some cases, live steam at a pressure of 60 lb.

On each table is an exposed drainage system of 2-in. galvanized-iron pipe, in the upper surface of which holes have been bored, through which the various apparatus drain by means of flexible connections of glass or rubber. These pipes and the sinks, etc., discharge into main drains, hung to the ceiling of the floor beneath. These drains are of wood, asphaltum coated, with an inside diameter ranging from 3 to 6 in., and at the proper grades to secure free discharge. These wooden drain-pipes are made in short lengths, strengthened by a spiral wrapping of metal bands, and are tested to a pressure of 40 lb. per sq. in. Angles are turned and branches connected in 4- and 6-in. square headers.

The entire building is ventilated by a force or blower fan in the basement, and by an exhaust fan in the attic with sufficient capacity to insure complete renewal of air in each laboratory once in 20 min.

The blower fan is placed in the center of the building, on the ground floor, and is 100 in. in diameter. Its capacity is about 30,000 cu. ft. of air per min., and it forces the air, through a series of pipes, into registers placed in each of the laboratories.

The exhaust fan, in the center of the attic, is run at 550 rev. per min., and has a capacity of 22,600 cu. ft. of air per min. It draws the air from each of the rooms below, as well as from the hoods, through a main pipe, 48 in. in diameter.

Steaming and Combustion Tests.—The investigations included under the term, fuel efficiency, relate to the utilization of the various types of fuels found in the coal and oil fields, and deal primarily with the combustion of such fuels in gas producers, in the furnaces of steam boilers, in locomotives, etc., and with the efficiency and utilization of petroleum, kerosene, gasoline, etc., in internal-combustion engines. This work is under the general direction of Mr. R. L. Fernald, and is conducted principally in Buildings Nos. 13 (Plate XVII) and 21.

For tests of combustion of fuels purchased by the Government, the equipment consists of two Heine, water-tube boilers, each of 210 h.p., set in Building No. 13. One of these boilers is equipped with a Jones underfeed stoker, and is baffled in the regular way. At four points in the setting, large pipes have been built into the brick wall, to permit making observations on the temperature of the gas, and to take samples of the gas for chemical analysis.

The other boiler is set with a plain hand-fired grate. It is baffled to give an extra passage for the gases (Fig. 15). Through the side of this boiler, at the rear end, the gases from the long combustion chamber (Plate XVIII) enter and take the same course as those from the hand-fired grate. Both the hand-fired grate and the long combustion chamber may be operated at the same time, but it is expected that usually only one will be in operation. A forced-draft fan has been installed at one side of the hand-fired boiler, to provide air pressure when coal is being burned at high capacity. This fan is also connected in such a way as to furnish air for the long combustion chamber when desired. A more complete description of the boilers may be found in Professional Paper No. 48, and Bulletin No. 325 of the U.S. Geological Survey, in which the water-measuring apparatus is also described.[13]

On account of the distance from Building No. 21 to the main group of buildings, it was considered inadvisable to attempt to furnish steam from Building No. 13 to Building No. 21, either for heating or power purposes. In view, moreover, of the necessity of installing various types and sizes of house-heating boilers, on account of tests to be made thereon in connection with these investigations, it was decided to install these boilers in the lower floor of Building No. 21, where they could be utilized, not only in making the necessary tests, but in furnishing heat and steam for the building and the chemical laboratories therein.

In addition to the physical laboratory on the lower floor of Building No. 21, and the house-heating boiler plant with the necessary coal storage, there are rooms devoted to the storage of heavy supplies, samples of fuels and oils, and miscellaneous commercial apparatus. One room is occupied by the ventilating fan and one is used for the necessary crushers, rolls, sizing screens, etc., required in connection with the sampling of coal prior to analysis.

The Quartermaster's Department having expressed a wish that tests be made of the heating value and efficiency of the various fuels offered that Department, in connection with the heating of military posts throughout the country, three house-heating boilers were procured which represent, in a general way, the types and sizes used in a medium-sized hospital or other similar building, and in smaller residences (Fig. 2, Plate XVI). The larger apparatus is a horizontal return-tubular boiler, 60 in. in diameter, 16 ft. long, and having fifty-four 4-in. tubes.[14]

In order to determine whether such a boiler may be operated under heating conditions without making smoke, when burning various kinds of coal, it has been installed in accordance with accepted ideas regarding the prevention of smoke. A fire-brick arch extends over the entire grate surface and past the bridge wall. A baffle wall has been built in the combustion chamber, which compels the gases to pass downward and to divide through two openings before they reach the boiler shell. Provision has been made for the admission of air at the front of the furnace, underneath the arch, and at the rear end of the bridge wall, thus furnishing air both above and below the fire. It is not expected that all coals can be burned without smoke in this furnace, but it is desirable to determine under what conditions some kinds of coals may be burned without objectionable smoke.[15]

For sampling the gases in the smokebox of the horizontal return-tubular boiler, a special flue-gas sampler was designed, in order to obtain a composite sample of the gases escaping from the boiler.

The other heaters are two cast-iron house-heating boilers. One can supply 400 sq. ft. of radiation and the other about 4,000 sq. ft. They were installed primarily for the purpose of testing coals to determine their relative value when burned for heating purposes. They are piped to a specially designed separator, and from this to a pressure-reducing valve. Beyond this valve an orifice allows the steam to escape into the regular heating mains. This arrangement makes it possible to maintain a practically constant load on the boilers.

There is a fourth boiler, designed and built for testing purposes by the Quartermaster's Department. This is a tubular boiler designed on the lines of a house-heating boiler, but for use as a calorimeter to determine the relative heat value of different fuels reduced to the basis of a standard cord of oak wood.

A series of research tests on the processes of combustion is being conducted in Building No. 13, by Mr. Henry Kreisinger. These tests are being made chiefly in a long combustion chamber (Figs. 16 and 17, and Figs. 1 and 2, Plate XVIII), which is fed with coal from a Murphy mechanical stoker, and discharges the hot gases at the rear end of the combustion chamber, into the hand-fired Heine boiler. The walls and roof of this chamber are double; the inner wall is 9 in. thick, of fire-brick; the outer one is 8 in. thick, and is faced with red pressed brick. Between the walls of the sides there is a 2-in. air space, and between them on the roof a 1-in. layer of asbestos paste is placed. The inner walls and roof have three special slip-joints, to allow for expansion. The floor is of concrete, protected by a 1-in. layer of asbestos board, which in turn is covered by a 3-in. layer of earth; on top of this earth there is a 4-in. layer of fire-brick (not shown in the drawings).

Inasmuch as one of the first problems to be attacked will be the determination of the length of travel and the time required to complete combustion in a flame in which the lines of stream flow are nearly parallel, great care was taken to make the inner surfaces of the tunnel smooth, and all corners and hollows are rounded out in the direction of travel of the gases.

Provision is made, by large peep-holes in the sides, and by smaller sampling holes in the top, for observing the fuel bed at several points and also the flame at 5-ft. intervals along the tunnel. Temperatures and gas samples are taken simultaneously at a number of points through these holes, so as to determine, if possible, the progress of combustion (Fig. 1, Plate XVIII).

About twenty thermo-couples are embedded in the walls, roof, and floor, some within 1 in. of the inside edge of the tunnel walls, and some in the red pressed brick near the outer surface, the object of which is to procure data on heat conduction through well-built brick walls[16] (Fig. 2, Plate XVIII).

In order to minimize the leakage of air through the brickwork, the furnace and tunnel are kept as nearly as possible at atmospheric pressure by the combined use of pressure and exhausting fans. Nevertheless, the leakage is determined periodically as accurately as possible.

At first a number of tests were run to calibrate the apparatus as a whole, all these preliminary tests being made on cheap, carefully inspected, uniform screenings from the same seam of the same mine near Pittsburg. Later tests will be run with other coals of various volatile contents and various distillation properties.

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