American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Generation of electric charge on a crystal by change of temperature.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. That branch of electricity which considers the production of a state of electrification in certain crystallized bodies by change of temperature alone. Thus, when a prismatic crystal of tourmalin is slightly heated, positive electricity is found to be developed at one extremity (called the analogous pole) and negative at the other (the antilogous pole). If the crystal is cooled, similar properties are developed, but the poles are reversed. Many other crystals show the same property, especially those whose molecular structure differs at the opposite extremities of the same crystallographicaxis (like tourmalin) — that is, which are hemimorphic or hemihedral. The unlike parts of a compound (twin) crystal of quartz become dissimilarly electrified by change of temperature. This can be well shown by shaking over a heated section of such a crystal a mixture of red lead and sulphur; the former collects on the parts which are negatively, the latter on those which are positively electrified. The phenomenon is closely related to the variations in stress which occur in the crystal when its temperature is altered. By some writers pyro-electricity is used to include also the phenomena of thermoelectricity, which, however, are totally different in character.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Physics) Electricity developed by means of heat; the science which treats of electricity thus developed.
- n. generation of an electric charge on certain crystals (such as tourmaline) as a result of a change in temperature
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