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principle to the motion of fluids, and gave a specimen of its application at the end of his Dynamics in 1743. It was more fully developed in his Traité des fluides, published in 1744, in which he gave simple and elegant solutions of problems relating to the equilibrium and motion of fluids. He made use of the same suppositions as Daniel Bernoulli, though his calculus was established in a very different manner. He considered, at every instant, the actual motion of a stratum as composed of a motion which it had in the preceding instant and of a motion which it had lost; and the laws of equilibrium between the motions lost furnished him with equations representing the motion of the fluid. It remained a desideratum to express by equations the motion of a particle of the fluid in any assigned direction. These equations were found by d’Alembert from two principles—that a rectangular canal, taken in a mass of fluid in equilibrium, is itself in equilibrium, and that a portion of the fluid, in passing from one place to another, preserves the same volume when the fluid is incompressible, or dilates itself according to a given law when the fluid is elastic. His ingenious method, published in 1752, in his Essai sur la résistance des fluides, was brought to perfection in his Opuscules mathématiques, and was adopted by Leonhard Euler.

The resolution of the questions concerning the motion of fluids was effected by means of Euler’s partial differential coefficients. This calculus was first applied to the motion of water by d’Alembert, and enabled both him and Euler to represent the theory of fluids in formulae restricted by no particular hypothesis.

One of the most successful labourers in the science of hydrodynamics at this period was Pierre Louis Georges Dubuat (1734–1809). Following in the steps of the Abbé Charles Bossut (Nouvelles Experiences sur la résistance des fluides, 1777), he published, in 1786, a revised edition of his Principes d’hydraulique, which contains a satisfactory theory of the motion of fluids, founded solely upon experiments. Dubuat considered that if water were a perfect fluid, and the channels in which it flowed infinitely smooth, its motion would be continually accelerated, like that of bodies descending in an inclined plane. But as the motion of rivers is not continually accelerated, and soon arrives at a state of uniformity, it is evident that the viscosity of the water, and the friction of the channel in which it descends, must equal the accelerating force. Dubuat, therefore, assumed it as a proposition of fundamental importance that, when water flows in any channel or bed, the accelerating force which obliges it to move is equal to the sum of all the resistances which it meets with, whether they arise from its own viscosity or from the friction of its bed. This principle was employed by him in the first edition of his work, which appeared in 1779. The theory contained in that edition was founded on the experiments of others, but he soon saw that a theory so new, and leading to results so different from the ordinary theory, should be founded on new experiments more direct than the former, and he was employed in the performance of these from 1780 to 1783. The experiments of Bossut were made only on pipes of a moderate declivity, but Dubuat used declivities of every kind, and made his experiments upon channels of various sizes.

The theory of running water was greatly advanced by the researches of Gaspard Riche de Prony (1755–1839). From a collection of the best experiments by previous workers he selected eighty-two (fifty-one on the velocity of water in conduit pipes, and thirty-one on its velocity in open canals); and, discussing these on physical and mechanical principles, he succeeded in drawing up general formulae, which afforded a simple expression for the velocity of running water.

J. A. Eytelwein (1764–1848) of Berlin, who published in 1801 a valuable compendium of hydraulics entitled Handbuch der Mechanik und der Hydraulik, investigated the subject of the discharge of water by compound pipes, the motions of jets and their impulses against plane and oblique surfaces; and he showed theoretically that a water-wheel will have its maximum effect when its circumference moves with half the velocity of the stream.

J. N. P. Hachette (1769–1834) in 1816–1817 published memoirs containing the results of experiments on the spouting of fluids and the discharge of vessels. His object was to measure the contracted part of a fluid vein, to examine the phenomena attendant on additional tubes, and to investigate the form of the fluid vein and the results obtained when different forms of orifices are employed. Extensive experiments on the discharge of water from orifices (Expériences hydrauliques, Paris, 1832) were conducted under the direction of the French government by J. V. Poncelet (1788–1867) and J. A. Lesbros (1790–1860). P. P. Boileau (1811–1891) discussed their results and added experiments of his own (Traité de la mésure des eaux courantes, Paris, 1854). K. R. Bornemann re-examined all these results with great care, and gave formulae expressing the variation of the coefficients of discharge in different conditions (Civil Ingénieur, 1880). Julius Weisbach (1806–1871) also made many experimental investigations on the discharge of fluids. The experiments of J. B. Francis (Lowell Hydraulic Experiments, Boston, Mass., 1855) led him to propose variations in the accepted formulae for the discharge over weirs, and a generation later a very complete investigation of this subject was carried out by H. Bazin. An elaborate inquiry on the flow of water in pipes and channels was conducted by H. G. P. Darcy (1803–1858) and continued by H. Bazin, at the expense of the French government (Recherches hydrauliques, Paris, 1866). German engineers have also devoted special attention to the measurement of the flow in rivers; the Beiträge zur Hydrographie des Königreiches Böhmen (Prague, 1872–1875) of A. R. Harlacher (1842–1890) contained valuable measurements of this kind, together with a comparison of the experimental results with the formulae of flow that had been proposed up to the date of its publication, and important data were yielded by the gaugings of the Mississippi made for the United States government by A. A. Humphreys and H. L. Abbot, by Robert Gordon’s gaugings of the Irrawaddy, and by Allen J. C. Cunningham’s experiments on the Ganges canal. The friction of water, investigated for slow speeds by Coulomb, was measured for higher speeds by William Froude (1810–1879), whose work is of great value in the theory of ship resistance (Brit. Assoc. Report., 1869), and stream line motion was studied by Professor Osborne Reynolds and by Professor H. S. Hele Shaw. (X.) 


Hydrostatics is a science which grew originally out of a number of isolated practical problems; but it satisfies the requirement of perfect accuracy in its application to phenomena, the largest and smallest, of the behaviour of a fluid. At the same time, it delights the pure theorist by the simplicity of the logic with which the fundamental theorems may be established, and by the elegance of its mathematical operations, insomuch that hydrostatics may be considered as the Euclidean pure geometry of mechanical science.

1. The Different States of a Substance or Matter.—All substance in nature falls into one of the two classes, solid and fluid; a solid substance, the land, for instance, as contrasted with a fluid, like water, being a substance which does not flow of itself.

A fluid, as the name implies, is a substance which flows, or is capable of flowing; water and air are the two fluids distributed most universally over the surface of the earth.

Fluids again are divided into two classes, termed a liquid and a gas, of which water and air are the chief examples.

A liquid is a fluid which is incompressible or practically so, i.e. it does not change in volume sensibly with change of pressure.

A gas is a compressible fluid, and the change in volume is considerable with moderate variation of pressure.

Liquids, again, can be poured from one open vessel into another, and can be kept in an uncovered vessel, but a gas tends to diffuse itself indefinitely and must be preserved in a closed reservoir.

The distinguishing characteristics of the three kinds of substance or states of matter, the solid, liquid and gas, are summarized thus in O. Lodge’s Mechanics:—

A solid has both size and shape.
A liquid has size but not shape.
A gas has neither size nor shape.

2. The Change of State of Matter.—By a change of temperature and pressure combined, a substance can in general be made to pass from one state into another; thus by gradually increasing the temperature a solid piece of ice can be melted into the liquid state of water, and the water again can be boiled off into the gaseous state as steam. Again, by raising the temperature, a metal in the solid state can be melted and liquefied, and poured into a mould to assume any form desired, which is retained when the metal cools and solidifies again; the gaseous state of a metal is revealed by the spectroscope. Conversely, a combination of increased pressure and lowering of temperature will, if carried far enough, reduce a gas to a liquid, and afterwards to the solid state; and nearly every gaseous substance has now undergone this operation.

A certain critical temperature is observed in a gas, above which the liquefaction is impossible; so that the gaseous state has two subdivisions into (i.) a true gas, which cannot be liquefied, because its temperature is above the critical temperature, (ii.) a vapour, where the temperature is below the critical, and which can ultimately be liquefied by further lowering of temperature or increase of pressure.

3. Plasticity and Viscosity.—Every solid substance is found to be plastic more or less, as exemplified by punching, shearing and cutting; but the plastic solid is distinguished from the viscous fluid in that a plastic solid requires a certain magnitude of stress to be exceeded to make it flow, whereas the viscous liquid will yield to the slightest stress, but requires a certain length of time for the effect to be appreciable.