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Chimney

CHIMNEY (through the Fr. cheminOøΩe, from caminata, sc. camera, a Lat. derivative of caminus, an oven or furnace), in architecture, that portion of a building, rising above the roof, in which are the flues conveying the smoke to the outer air. Originally the term included the fireplace as well as the chimney shaft. At Rochester Castle (1130) and Heddington, Essex, there were no external chimney shafts, and the flue was carried through the wall at some height above the fireplace. In the early examples the chimney shaft was circular, with one flue only, and was terminated with a conical cap, the smoke issuing from openings in the side, which at Sherborne Abbey (A.D. 1300) were treated decoratively. It was not till the 15th century that the smoke issued at the top, and later in the century that more than one flue was carried up in the same shaft. There are a few examples of the clustered shaft in stone, but as a rule they are contemporaneous with the general use of brick. The brick chimney shafts, of which there are fine specimens at Hampton Court, were richly decorated with chevrons and other geometrical patterns. One of the best examples is that at Thornton Castle, Gloucestershire.

In the 15th and 16th centuries in France the chimney shaft was recognized as an important architectural feature, and was of considerable elevation in consequence of the great height of the roofs. In the château of Meillant (1503) the chimney shafts are decorated with angle buttresses, niches and canopies, in the late Flamboyant style; and at Chambord and Blois they are carved with pilasters and niches with panelling above, carved with the salamander and other armorial devices. In the Roman palaces they are sometimes masked by the balustrades, and (when shown) take the form of sepulchral urns, as if to disguise their real purpose. Though not of a very architectural character, the chimneys at Venice present perhaps the greatest variety of terminations, and as a rule the smoke comes out on the sides and not through the top.

(R. P. S.)

Factory Chimneys. - Chimneys, besides removing the products of combustion, also serve to provide the fire with the air requisite for burning the fuel. The hot air in the shaft, being lighter than the cold air outside it, tends to rise, and as it does so air flows in at the bottom to take its place. An ascending current is thus established in the chimney, its velocity, other things being equal, varying as the square root of the height of the shaft above the grate. The velocity also increases with increase of temperature in the gas column, but since the weight of each cubic foot grows less as the gases expand, the amount of smoke discharged by a chimney does not increase indefinitely with the temperature; a maximum is reached when the difference in temperature between the gases in the shaft and the outside air is about 600° F., but the rate of increase is very slow after the difference has passed about 300° F. In designing a chimney the dimensions (height and sectional area) have to be so proportioned to the amount of fuel to be burnt in the various furnaces connected with it that at the temperature employed the products of combustion are effectively removed, due allowance being made for the frictional retardation of the current against the sides of the flues and shafts and in passing through the fire. The velocity of the current in actual chimneys varies widely, from 3 or 4 to 50 or 60 ft. a second. Increased velocity, obtainable by increasing the height of the shaft, gives increased delivering capacity, but a speed of 10 or 12 ft. a second is regarded as good practice. Ordinary factory chimneys do not in general exceed 180 or 200 ft. in height, but in some cases, especially when, as in chemical works, they are employed to get rid of objectionable vapours, they have been made double that height, or even more. In section they are round, octagonal or square. The circular form offers the least resistance to wind pressure, and for a given height and sectional area requires less material to secure stability than the octagonal and still less than the square; on the other hand, there is more liability to cracking. Brick is the material commonly used, but many chimneys are now made of iron or steel. Reinforced concrete is also employed.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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