(redirected from caloric test)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.


Obsolete a hypothetical elastic fluid formerly postulated as the embodiment of heat



a hypothetical substance (weightless fluid) representing heat by whose presence in bodies scientists of the 18th and early 19th centuries attempted to explain observed heat phenomena, such as the heating of bodies, heat exchange, thermal expansion, and thermal equilibrium. The caloric theory required that certain unusual properties be ascribed to this fluid, for example, weightlessness, an elasticity greater than that of all other substances, and an ability to penetrate and expand the tiniest pores of bodies. In the 18th century, scientists hypothesized the existence of weightless fluids besides caloric, among them phlogiston, to explain the physical and chemical properties of substances. Only at the beginning of the 19th century was it conclusively proven that heat phenomena are caused by the chaotic movement of atoms and molecules. An important role in refuting the caloric theory was played by the experiments of B. Rumford (1798) and H. Davy (1799) that proved that the heating of bodies can be brought about by mechanical work.

References in periodicals archive ?
A failure to correct for preexisting nystagmus during caloric tests might have suggested misleading diagnostic possibilities.
Firstly, the group with definite peripheral vertigo will have positive signs with some of the following tests: Dix Hallpike test, lateral semi-circular canal (SCC) test, caloric test, HIT, and DVAT.
Although the patient had no complaints of dizziness, the caloric test and vestibular evoked myogenic potential test revealed no responses on the same side.