« PreviousContinue »
through equal angles, except in so far as the resistance of interstellar matter, and the attraction of other bodies in the universe, alter his speed and that of the earth's rotation.
215. If two material points be projected from one position, A, at the same instant with any velocities in any directions, and each left to move uninfluenced by force, the line joining them will be always parallel to a fixed direction. For the law asserts, as we have seen, that AP: AP :: AQ: AC, if P, Q, and again P, Q, are simultaneous positions; and therefore P Q is parallel to P'Q. Hence if four material points O, P, Q, R are all projected at one instant from one position, OP, OQ, OR are fixed directions of reference ever after. But, practically, the determination of fixed directions in space (§ 233) is made to depend upon the rotation of groups of particles exerting forces on each other, and thus involves the Third Law of Motion.
216. The whole law is singularly at variance with the tenets of the ancient philosophers, who maintained that circular motion is perfect.
The last clause, nisi quatenus,' etc., admirably prepares for the introduction of the second law, by conveying the idea that it is force alone which can produce a change of motion. How, we naturally inquire, does the change of motion produced depend on the magnitude and direction of the force which produces it? The answer is
217. LEX II. Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi motrici impressae, et fieri secundum lineam rectam quá vis illa imprimitur.
Change of motion is proportional to the impressed force, and takes place in the direction of the straight line in which the force acts.
218. If any force generates motion, a double force will generate double motion, and so on, whether simultaneously or successively, instantaneously or gradually, applied. And this motion, if the body was moving beforehand, is either added to the previous motion if directly conspiring with it; or is subtracted if directly opposed; or is geometrically compounded with it, according to the kinematical principles already explained, if the line of previous motion and the direction of the force are inclined to each other at any angle. (This is a paraphrase of Newton's own comments on the second law.)
219. În Chapter I. we have considered change of velocity, or acceleration, as a purely geometrical element, and have seen how it may be at once inferred from the given initial and final velocities of a body. By the definition of a quantity of motion ($ 211), we see that, if we multiply the change of velocity, thus geometrically determined, by the mass of the body, we have the change of motion referred to in Newton's law as the measure of the force which produces it.
It is to be particularly noticed, that in this statement there is nothing said about the actual motion of the body before it was acted on by the force: it is only the change of motion that concerns us. Thus the same force will produce precisely the same change of motion in a body, whether the body be at rest, or in motion with any velocity whatever.
220. Again, it is to be noticed that nothing is said as to the body being under the action of one force only; so that we may logically put a part of the second law in the following (apparently) amplified form:
When any forces whatever act on a body, then, whether the body be originally at rest or moving with any velocity and in any direction, each force produces in the body the exact change of motion which it would have produced if it had acted singly on the body originally at rest.
221. A remarkable consequence follows immediately from this view of the second law. Since forces are measured by the changes of motion they produce, and their directions assigned by the directions in which these changes are produced; and since the changes of motion of one and the same body are in the directions of, and proportional to, the changes of velocity-a single force, measured by the resultant change of velocity, and in its direction, will be the equivalent of any number of simultaneously acting forces. Hence
The resultant of any number of forces (applied at one point) is to be found by the same geometrical process as the resultant of any number of simultaneous velocities.
222. From this follows at once ($ 31) the construction of the Parallelogram of Forces for finding the resultant of two forces, and the Polygon of Forces for the resultant of any number of forces, in lines all through one point.
The case of the equilibrium of a number of forces acting at one point, is evidently deducible at once from this; for if we introduce one other force equal and opposite to their resultant, this will produce a change of motion equal and opposite to the resultant change of motion produced by the given forces; that is to say, will produce a condition in which the point experiences no change of motion, which, as we have already seen, is the only kind of rest of which we can ever be conscious.
223. Though Newton perceived that the Parallelogram of Forces, or the fundamental principle of Statics, is essentially involved in the second law of motion, and gave a proof which is virtually the same as the preceding, subsequent writers on Statics (especially in this country) have very generally ignored the fact; and the consequence has been the introduction of various unnecessary Dynamical Axioms, more or less obvious, but in reality included in or dependent upon Newton's laws of motion. We have retained Newton's method, not only on account of its admirable simplicity, but because we believe it contains the most philosophical foundation for the static as well as for the kinetic branch of the dynamic science.
224. But the second law gives us the means of measuring force, and also of measuring the mass of a body.
For, if we consider the actions of various forces upon the same body for equal times, we evidently have changes of velocity produced which are proportional to the forces. The changes of velocity, then, give us in this case the means of comparing the magnitudes of different
forces. Thus the velocities acquired in one second by the same mass (falling freely) at different parts of the earth's surface, give us the relative amounts of the earth's attraction at these places.
Again, if equal forces be exerted on different bodies, the changes of velocity produced in equal times must be inversely as the masses of the various bodies. This is approximately the case, for instance, with trains of various lengths started by the same locomotive : it is exactly realized in such cases as the action of an electrified body on a number of solid or hollow spheres of the same external diameter, and of different metals.
Again, if we find a case in which different bodies, each acted on by a force, acquire in the same time the same changes of velocity, the forces must be proportional to the masses of the bodies. This, when the resistance of the air is removed, is the case of falling bodies; and from it we conclude that the weight of a body in any given locality, or the force with which the earth attracts it, is proportional to its mass; a most important physical truth, which will be treated of more carefully in the chapter devoted to Properties of Matter.
225. It appears, lastly, from this law, that every theorem of Kinematics connected with acceleration has its counterpart in Kinetics. Thus, for instance (§ 38), we see that the force under which a particle describes any curve, may be resolved into two components, one in the tangent to the curve, the other towards the centre of curvature; their magnitudes being the acceleration of momentum, and the product of the momentum and the angular velocity about the centre of curvature, respectively. In the case of uniform motion, the first of these vanishes, or the whole force is perpendicular to the direction of motion. When there is no force perpendicular to the direction of motion, there is no curvature, or the path is a straight line.
226. We have, by means of the first two laws, arrived at a definition and a measure of force; and have also found how to compound, and therefore also how to resolve, forces: and also how to investigate the motion of a single particle subjected to given forces. But more is required before we can completely understand the more complex cases of motion, especially those in which we have mutual actions between or amongst two or more bodies; such as, for instance, attractions, or pressures, or transferrence of energy in any form. This is perfectly supplied by
227. LEX III. Actioni contrariam semper et aequalem esse reactionem : sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuò semper esse aequales et in partes contrarias dirigi.
To every action there is always an equal and contrary reaction : or, the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed.
228. If one body presses or draws another, it is pressed or drawn by this other with an equal force in the opposite direction. If any one presses a stone with his finger, his finger is pressed with the same force in the opposite direction by the stone. A horse towing a boat on a canal is dragged backwards by a force equal to
that which he impresses on the towing-rope forwards. By whatever amount, and in whatever direction, one body has its motion changed by impact upon another, this other body has its motion changed by the same amount in the opposite direction; for at each instant during the impact the force between them was equal and opposite on the two. When neither of the two bodies has any rotation, whether before or after impact, the changes of velocity which they experience are inversely as their masses.
When one body attracts another from a distance, this other attracts it with an equal and opposite force. This law holds not only for the attraction of gravitation, but also, as Newton himself remarked and verified by experiment, for magnetic attractions : also for electric forces, as tested by Otto-Guericke.
229. What precedes is founded upon Newton's own comments on the third law, and the actions and reactions contemplated are simple forces. In the scholium appended, he makes the following remarkable statement, introducing another specification of actions and reactions subject to his third law, the full meaning of which seems to have escaped the notice of commentators:
Si aestimetur agentis actio ex ejus vi et velocitate conjunctim ; et similiter resistentis reactio aestimetur conjunctim ex ejus partium singularum velocitatibus et viribus resistendi ab earum attritione, cohaesione, pondere, et acceleratione oriundis ; erunt actio et reactio, in omni instrumentorum usu, sibi invicem semper aequales.
In a previous discussion Newton has shown what is to be understood by the velocity of a force or resistance ; i.e. that it is the velocity of the point of application of the force resolved in the direction of the force, in fact proportional to the virtual velocity. Bearing this in mind, we may read the above statement as follows
If the action of an agent be measured by the product of its force into its velocity; and if, similarly, the reaction of the resistance be measured by the velocities of its several parts into their several forces, whether these arise from friction, cohesion, weight, or acceleration ;--action and reaction, in all combinations of machines, will be equal and opposite.
Farther on we shall give a full development of the consequences of this most important remark.
230. Newton, in the passage just quoted, points out that forces of resistance against acceleration are to be reckoned as reactions equal and opposite to the actions by which the acceleration is produced. Thus, if we consider any one material point of a system, its reaction against acceleration must be equal and opposite to the resultant of the forces which that point experiences, whether by the actions of other parts of the system upon it, or by the influence of matter not belonging to the system. In other words, it must be in equilibrium with these forces. Hence Newton's view amounts to this, that all the forces of the system, with the reactions against acceleration of the material points composing it, form groups of equilibrating systems for these points considered individually. Hence, by the
principle of superposition of forces in equilibrium, all the forces acting on points of the system form, with the reactions against acceleration, an equilibrating set of forces on the whole system. This is the celebrated principle first explicitly stated, and very usefully applied, by D'Alembert in 1742, and still known by his name. We have seen, however, that it is very distinctly implied in Newton's own interpretation of his third law of motion. As it is usual to investigate the general equations or conditions of equilibrium, in treatises on Analytical Dynamics, before entering in detail on the kinetic branch of the subject, this principle is found practically most useful in showing how we may write down at once the equations of motion for any system for which the equations of equilibrium have been investigated.
231. Every rigid body may be imagined to be divided into indefinitely small parts. Now, in whatever form we may eventually find a physical explanation of the origin of the forces which act between these parts, it is certain that each such small part may be considered to be held in its position relatively to the others by mutual forces in lines joining them.
232. From this we have, as immediate consequences of the second and third laws, and of the preceding theorems relating to centre of inertia and moment of momentum, a number of important propositions such as the following:
(a) The centre of inertia of a rigid body moving in any manner, but free from external forces, moves uniformly in a straight line.
(6) When any forces whatever act on the body, the motion of the centre of inertia is the same as it would have been had these forces been applied with their proper magnitudes and directions at that point itself.
(c) Since the moment of a force acting on a particle is the same as the moment of momentum it produces in unit of time, the changes of moment of momentum in any two parts of a rigid body due to their mutual action are equal and opposite. Hence the moment of momentum of a rigid body, about any axis which is fixed in direction, and passes through a point which is either fixed in space or moves uniformly in a straight line, is unaltered by the mutual actions of the parts of the body.
(d) The rate of increase of moment of momentum, when the body is acted on by external forces, is the sum of the moments of these forces about the axis.
233. We shall for the present take for granted, that the mutual action between two rigid bodies may in every case be imagined as composed of pairs of equal and opposite forces in straight lines. From this it follows that the sum of the quantities of motion, parallel to any fixed direction, of two rigid bodies influencing one another in any possible way, remains unchanged by their mutual action; also that the sum of the moments of momentum of all the particles of the two bodies, round any line in a fixed direction in space, and