Sir Humphry Davy Davy Lamp

November 5, 2012 by  

Sir Humphry Davy Davy Lamp, The Davy lamp is a safety lamp for use in flammable atmospheres, consisting of a wick lamp with the flame enclosed inside a mesh screen. It was invented in 1815 by Sir Humphry Davy. It originally burned a heavy vegetable oil. It was created for use in coal mines, to reduce the danger of explosions due to the presence of methane and other flammable gases, called firedamp or minedamp.

Sir Humphry Davy had discovered that a flame enclosed inside a mesh of a certain fineness cannot ignite firedamp. The screen acts as a flame arrestor; air (and any firedamp present) can pass through the mesh freely enough to support combustion, but the holes are too fine to allow a flame to propagate through them and ignite any firedamp outside the mesh.

The news about Davy’s lamp was made public at a Royal Society meeting in Newcastle on 3 November 1815, and the paper describing the lamp was formally presented on 9 November. For it, Davy was awarded the Society’s Rumford Medal. (Davy’s invention had been preceded by that of William Reid Clanny, an Irish doctor at Bishopwearmouth, who had also read a paper to the Royal Society in May 1813. Reid Clanny’s lamp was successfully tested at Harrington Mill and he too won medals, from the Royal Society of Arts). The first trial of a Davy lamp with a wire sieve was at Hebburn Colliery on 9 January 1816.

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