D O C U M E N T 4 0 5 D E C E M B E R 1 9 2 4 4 0 1
ence of a saturation current for the discharge potentials and aspiration velocities ap-
plied inside the aircraft. Although these tests were decisive also for this, they can-
not reveal anything about our present problem.
As concerns the balloon experiments, the situation is, as I have rechecked again,
such that the found positive volume charge in any case becomes greater if one as-
sumes that the ion distribution in the approaching airflow and the ion paths upon
entry into the capacitor are disturbed by the apparatus’s influence charge and must
be corrected accordingly.
I would be grateful if you would let me know how large the charge effect of mat-
ter would be in the atmosphere, if you presuppose other confirmations of your basic
Also please do inform me when you have published something on this subject,
such as your Lucerne
With respectful regards, yours very sincerely,
405. From Auguste Piccard
Brussels, 14 Ernestine Avenue, 25 December 1924
Highly esteemed Professor,
Since last Sunday, we have been doing 1 to 2 experiments daily with the appa-
ratus last described to
Each time, 30 to 120 g CO2 are absorbed. Before the
start of the gas intake, the potential is so constant and the electrometer’s sensitivity
sufficient to detect an effect of some 1/50 stat. unit/kg matter. During intake, how-
ever, irregular disturbances still develop whose effect approaches close to the ex-
pected effect of 1/10 stat. unit/kg. But the magnitude and even the sign of these dis-
turbances change; during the absorption, mostly a negative charge forms. Possible
disturbances: (1) ions carried-along that are either not held back inside the capaci-
tor, or are formed by the wind effect in the feed pipe (250
cm3 sec–1
in a pipe of Ø
= 1.6 cm). (2) The quite significant heating up of the vessel (Volta effect?) In both
cases I can still improve the apparatus. But it seems already probable that the effect
is not present in the expected order of magnitude. I am going to conduct one more
trial tomorrow. I can only take up further testing after [the] 18th Jan. [19]25.
Today I would like to present another experimental arrangement for your
Into a 5-l[iter] vessel, CO2 is introduced at an overpressure of 10 atm. The vessel
contains a hygroscopic desiccant and a sphere that is charged 1,000 to 2,000 volts
against the vessel. This tension is maintained by a Leyden jar that is enclosed inside
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