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shall generally call the elastic centre, or the centre of elasticity, of the section. It has also the following important property :

-The line of elastic centres, or, as we shall call it, the elastic central line, remains sensibly unchanged in length to whatever stress within our conditional limits ($ 605) the wire be subjected. The elongation or contraction produced by the neglected resultant force, if this is in such a direction as to produce any, will cause the line of rigorously no elongation to deviate only infinitesimally from the elastic central line, in any part of the wire finitely curved. It will, however, clearly cause there to be no line of rigorously unchanged length, in any straight part of the wire: but as the whole elongation would be infinitesimal in comparison with the effective actions with which we are concerned, this case constitutes no exception to the preceding statement.

609. In the most important practical cases, as we shall see later, those namely in which the substance is either 'isotropic,' which is sensibly the case with common metallic wires, or has an axis of elastic symmetry along the length of the piece, one of the three normal axes of torsion and flexure coincides with the length of the wire, and the two others are perpendicular to it; the first being an axis of pure torsion, and the two others axes of pure flexure. Thus opposing couples round the axis of the wire twist it simply without bending it; and opposing couples in either of the two principal planes of flexure, bend it into a circle. The unbent straight line of the wire, and the circular arcs into which it is bent by couples in the two principal planes of flexure, are what the three principal spirals of the general problem become in this case.

610. In the more particular case in which two principal rigidities against flexure are equal, every plane through the length of the wire is a principal plane of flexure, and the rigidity against flexure is equal in all. This is clearly the case with a common round wire, or rod, or with one of square section. It can be shown to be the case for a rod of isotropic material and of any form of normal section which is 'kinetically symmetrical' ($ 239) round all axes in its plane through its centre of inertia.

611. In this case, if one end of the rod or wire be held fixed, and a couple be applied in any plane to the other end, a uniform spiral form will be produced round an axis perpendicular to the plane of the couple. The lines of the substance parallel to the axis of the spiral are not, however, parallel to their original positions, as in each of the three principal spirals of the general problem: and lines traced along the surface of the wire parallel to its length when straight, become as it were secondary spirals, circling round the main spiral formed by the central line of the deformed wire, instead of being all spirals of equal step, as in each one of the principal spirals of the general problem. Lastly, in the present case, if we suppose the normal section of the wire to be circular, and trace uniform spirals along its surface when deformed in the manner

supposed (two of which, for instance, are the lines along which it is touched by the inscribed and the circumscribed cylinder), these lines do not become straight, but become spirals laid on as it were round the wire, when it is allowed to take its natural straight and untwisted condition.

612. A wire of equal flexibility in all directions may clearly be held in any specified spiral form, and twisted to any stated degree, by a determinate force and couple applied at one end, the other end being held fixed. The direction of the force must be parallel to the axis of the spiral, and, with the couple, must constitute a system of which this line is ($ 579) the central axis : since otherwise there could not be the same system of balancing forces in every normal section of the spiral. All this may be seen clearly by supposing the wire to be first brought by any means to the specified condition of strain; then to have rigid planes rigidly attached to its two ends perpendicular to its axis, and these planes to be rigidly connected by a bar lying in this line. The spiral wire now left to itself cannot but be in equilibrium : although if it be too long (according to its form and degree of twist) the equilibrium may be unstable. The force along the central axis, and the couple, are to be determined by the condition that, when the force is transferred after Poinsot's manner to the elastic centre of any normal section, they give two couples together equivalent to the elastic couples of flexure and torsion.

613. A wire of equal flexibility in all directions may be held in any stated spiral form by a simple force along its axis between rigid pieces rigidly attached to its two ends, provided that, along with its spiral form a certain degree of twist be given to it. The force is determined by the condition that its moment round the perpendicular through any point of the spiral to its osculating plane at that point, must be equal and opposite to the elastic unbending couple. The degree of twist is that due (by the simple equation of torsion) to the moment of the force thus determined, round the tangent at any point of the spiral. The direction of the force being, according to the preceding condition, such as to press together the ends of the spiral, the direction of the twist in the wire is opposite to that of the tortuosity (§ 13) of its central curve.

614. The principles with which we have just been occupied are immediately applicable to the theory of spiral springs; and we shall therefore make a short digression on this curious and important practical subject before completing our investigation of elastic


A common spiral spring consists of a uniform wire shaped permanently to have, when unstrained, the form of a regular helix, with the principal axes of flexure and torsion everywhere similarly situated relatively to the curve. When used in the proper manner, it is acted on, through arms or plates rigidly attached to its ends, by forces such that its form as altered by them is still a regular helix. This

condition is obviously fulfilled if (one terminal being held fixed) an infinitely small force and infinitely small couple be applied to the other terminal along the axis, and in a plane perpendicular to it, and if the force and couple be increased to any degree, and always kept along and in the plane perpendicular to the axis of the altered spiral. It would, however, introduce useless complication to work out the details of the problem except for the case (§ 609) in which one of the principal axes coincides with the tangent to the central line, and is therefore an axis of pure torsion, as spiral springs in practice always belong to this case. On the other hand, a very interesting complication occurs if we suppose (what is easily realized in practice, though to be avoided if merely a good spring is desired) the normal section of the wire to be of such a figure, and so situated relatively to the spiral, that the planes of greatest and least flexural rigidity are oblique to the tangent plane of the cylinder. Such a spring when acted on in the regular manner at its ends must experience a certain degree of turning through its whole length round its elastic central curve in order that the flexural couple developed may be, as we shall immediately see it must be, precisely in the osculating plane of the altered spiral. All that is interesting in this very curious effect is illustrated later in full detail ($ 624 of our larger work) in the case of an open circular arc altered by a couple in its own plane, into a circular arc of greater or less radius; and for brevity and simplicity we shall confine the detailed investigation of spiral springs on which we now enter, to the cases in which either the wire is of equal flexural rigidity in all directions, or the two principal planes of (greatest and least or least and greatest) flexural rigidity coincide respectively with the tangent plane to the cylinder, and the normal plane touching the central curve of the wire, at any point.

615. The axial force, on the movable terminal of the spring, transferred according to Poinsot to any point in the elastic central curve, gives a couple in the plane through that point and the axis of the spiral. The resultant of this and the couple which we suppose applied to the terminal in the plane perpendicular to the axis of the spiral is the effective bending and twisting couple: and as it is in a plane perpendicular to the tangent plane to the cylinder, the component of it to which bending is due must be also perpendicular to this plane, and therefore is in the osculating plane of the spiral. This component couple therefore simply maintains a curvature different from the natural curvature of the wire, and the other, that is, the couple in the plane normal to the central curve, pure torsion. The equations of equilibrium merely express this in mathematical language. 616. The potential energy of the strained spring is

BW-W) + AT]/, if A denote the torsional rigidity, B the flexural rigidity in the plane of curvature, w and we the strained and unstrained curvatures, and a

the torsion of the wire in the strained condition, the torsion being reckoned as zero in the unstrained condition. The axial force, and the couple, required to hold the spring to any given length reckoned along the axis of the spiral, and to any given angle between planes through its ends and the axes, are of course (§ 244) equal to the rates of variation of the potential energy, per unit of variation of these co-ordinates respectively. It must be carefully remarked, however, that, if the terminal rigidly attached to one end of the spring be held fast, so as to fix the tangent at this end, and the motion of the other terminal be so regulated as to keep the figure of the intermediate spring always truly spiral, this motion will be somewhat complicated ; as the radius of the cylinder, the inclination of the axis of the spiral to the fixed direction of the tangent at the fixed end, and the position of the point in the axis in which it is cut by the plane perpendicular to it through the fixed end of the spring, all vary as the spring changes in figure. The effective components of any infinitely small motion of the movable terminal are its component translation along, and rotation round, the instantaneous position of the axis of the spiral (two degrees of freedom], along with which it will generally have an infinitely small translation in some direction and rotation round some line, each perpendicular to this axis, and determined from the two degrees of arbitrary motion, by the condition that the curve remains a true spiral.

617. In the practical use of spiral springs, this condition is not rigorously fulfilled: but, instead, one of two plans is generally followed :-(1) Force, without any couple, is applied pulling out or pressing together two definite points of the two terminals, each as nearly as may be in the axis of the unstrained spiral; or (2) One terminal being held fixed, the other is allowed to slide, without any turning, in a fixed direction, being as nearly as may be the direction of the axis of the spiral when unstrained. The preceding investigation is applicable to the infinitely small displacement in either case: the couple being put equal to zero for case (1), and the instantaneous rotatory motion round the axis of the spiral equal to zero for case (2).

618. In a spiral spring of infinitely small inclination to the plane perpendicular to its axis, the displacement produced in the movable terminal by a force applied to it in the axis of the spiral is a simple rectilineal translation in the direction of the axis, and is equal to the length of the circular arc through which an equal force carries one end of a rigid arm or crank equal in length to the radius of the cylinder, attached perpendicularly to one end of the wire of the spring supposed straightened and held with the other end absolutely fixed, and the end which bears the crank, free to turn in a collar. This statement is due to J. Thomson', who showed that in pulling out a spiral spring of infinitely small inclination the action exercised and

i Camb. and Dub. Math. Jour. 1848.

the elastic quality used are the same as in a torsion-balance with the same wire straightened ($ 386). This theory is, as he proved experimentally, sufficiently approximate for most practical applications; spiral springs, as commonly made and used, being of very small inclination. There is no difficulty in finding the requisite correction, for the actual inclination in any case. The fundamental principle that spiral springs act chiefly by torsion seems to have been first discovered by Binet in 1814

619. Returning to the case of a uniform wire straight and untwisted (that is, cylindrical or prismatic) when free from stress; let us suppose one end to be held fixed in a given direction, and no other force from without to influence it except that of a rigid frame attached to its other end acted on by a force, R, in a given line, AB, and a couple, G, in a plane perpendicular to this line. The form and twist it will have when in equilibrium are determined by the condition that the torsion and flexure at any point, P, of its length are those due to the couple G compounded with the couple obtained by bringing R

to P.

620. Kirchhoff has made a very remarkable comparison between the static problem of bending and twisting a wire, and the kinetic problem of the rotation of a rigid body. We can give here but one instance, the simplest of all the Elastic Curve of James Bernoulli, and the common pendulum. A uniform straight wire, either equally flexible in all planes through its length, or having its directions of maximum and minimum flexural rigidity in two planes through its whole length, is acted on by a force and couple in one of these planes, applied either directly to one end, or by means of an arm rigidly attached to it, the other end being held fast. The force and couple may, of course (§ 568), be reduced to a single force, the extreme case of a couple being mathematically included as an infinitely small force at an infinitely great distance. To avoid any restriction of the problem, we must suppose this force applied to an arm rigidly attached to the wire, although in any case in which the line of the force cuts the wire, the force may be applied directly at the point of intersection, without altering the circumstances of the wire between this point and the fixed end. The wire will, in these circumstances, be bent into a curve lying throughout in the plane through its fixed end and the line of the force, and (609) its curvatures at different points will, as was first shown by James Bernoulli, be simply as their distances from this line. The curve fulfilling this condition has clearly just two independent parameters, of which one is conveniently regarded as the mean proportional, a, between the radius of curvature at any point and its distance from the line of force, and the other, the maximum distance, b, of the wire from the line of force. By choosing any value for each of these parameters it is easy to trace the corresponding curve with a very high approximation to accuracy, by commencing with a small circular arc touching at one

1 St. Venant, Comptes Rendus, Sept. 1864.


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