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Inquiry into Physics

8th Edition
Ostdiek
ISBN: 9781337515863
Textbook Problem

Discuss some of the early developments in the field of thermometry that have led to the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales currently in use today.

To determine

To discuss:

Some of the early developments in the field of thermometry that have led to the Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature scales currently in use today.

Explanation

The first primitive thermometer was invented by Galileo in 1592. It made use of the expansion and contraction of air with temperature. A glass bulb equipped with a long, thin neck was partially filled with water and then inverted into a container of water (as shown in the figure). The water level would move up and down in the neck as changes in temperature caused the air in the bulb to expand and contract. The device was also affected by changes in atmospheric pressure. This device was void of a temperature scale.

In 1657, Galileo's disciples developed functional thermometers. These were based on the thermal expansion of alcohol in sealed tubes and were not affected by changes in atmospheric pressure. Temperature scales were also fixed for these thermometers by choosing two fixed points and dividing the interval into a number of degrees.

An astronomer named Ismaël Boulliau was the first to use mercury in a thermometer.

Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, a scientist, and manufacturer of meteorological instruments, experimented extensively with both alcohol and mercury thermometers, as well as with fixed points and temperature scales...

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