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Electric Resonance

A set of phenomena known as the Hertz experiments are grouped under this title, which phenomena are incidents of and depend on the propagation of electric waves through wires or current conductors, as well as through the ether. Ordinarily a wire is only a seat of current, and is in its nature inconsistent with wave propagation through its mass. Such waves are virtually confined to the exterior of the wire. The point is that the current-producing force is supposed to enter the wire at all points from without, the current not being produced by an end-push. Hence in rapidly recurring waves which are produced by a rapidly pulsatory or alternating current, no time is afforded for the current-producing force, in this case the wave-producing force, to penetrate into the substance of the wire. In one of his experiments Dr. Hertz surrounded a wire by a glass tube chemically silvered. The coating was so thin as to be translucent. Through this metallic layer a current could be induced in the wire in its interior. Any mechanical layer of metal took up the induction itself, and protected the central wire. This gave a clue to the thickness of metal penetrated by the rapid induced waves used by Dr. Hertz.


The method used for the production of rapid oscillations is the following. To the terminals of an induction coil two metal spheres AA1 are connected as shown. This apparatus is termed the exciter; in its discharge a series of isochronous discharges takes place, alternating in direction. The period of duration T of a single one is given by the formula T= 2* PI * squareRoot( LC ),  in which C is the capacityand L is the self-induction. The spheres may be 30 centimeters (11.8 inches) in diameter, connected each to conductors 0.5 centimeter (.2 inch) in diameter and 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) long each. For the length of an undulation the formula gives for this apparatus 4.8 meters (15.75 feet) as the length of a wave, assuming for them the velocity of propagation equal to that of light. The exciter may have 10,000 times the rate of oscillation possessed by the plain induction coil.

When this apparatus is worked it produces induced waves in every neighboring conductor. The resonance effects appear in the size of the spark induced. Thus a wire bent into a circle with its ends nearly touching will give a spark, but if made of proper electrostatic capacity, corresponding with the particular waves employed, the spark will be very much larger. The ring, with its spark gap is termed a resonator. It is used as an explorer to trace the waves.

Waves thus produced are transmitted by stone walls and nonconductors in general. A plate of zinc reflects part and transmits part. The reflected waves can be traced by the resonator, their angle of reflection being equal to their angle of incidence. They can be received by one parabolic reflector, reflected to another and brought to a focus. They can be reflected so as to produce interference or loops and nodes, and the loops and nodes can be traced by the resonator. By a prism of asphalt they are refracted exactly like light.

From all this it is concluded that an additional proof is furnished of the identity of light and electro-magnetic waves, and a very strong experimental proof of Maxwell's theory of light is furnished.

Synonym: Hertz's Experiments.