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Solar furnace. Illustration of a solar furnace designed by the French chemist Antoine Lavoisier in the 1770s for use in his experiments. The furn- ace focused the heat of the Sun using lenses which had a diameter of up to 1.32 metres. The lenses were made from curved sheets of glass with the internal space filled by vinegar. This furnace was intended to replace the need for fuel in experiments that needed heat, because of concerns about contamination from the fuel's combustion products. In one experiment, Lavoisier used the furnace to burn diamond in air in a glass jar. By analysing the combustion products he was able to show that diamond was comprised solely of carbon.
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