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STATICS]
961
MECHANICS


magnitude and direction, and joining the vertices of the polygon thus formed to an arbitrary pole O. The funicular or link polygon has its vertices on the lines of action of the given forces, and its sides respectively parallel to the lines drawn from O in the force-diagram; in particular, the two sides meeting in any vertex are respectively parallel to the lines drawn from O to the ends of that side of the force-polygon which represents the corresponding force. The relations will be understood from the annexed diagram, where corresponding lines in the force-diagram 3

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FIG. 26.

(to the right) and the funicular (to the left) are numbered similarly. The sides of the force-polygon may in the first instance be arranged in any order; the force-diagram can then be completed in a doubly infinite number of ways, owing to the arbitrary position of O; and for each force-diagram a simply infinite number of funiculars can be drawn. The two diagrams being supposed constructed, it is seen that each of the given systems of forces can be replaced by two components acting in the sides of the 'funicular which meet at the corresponding vertex, and that the magnitudes of these components will be given by the corresponding triangle of forces in the force-diagram; thus the force r in the figure is equivalent to two forces represented by O1 and 12. When this process of replacement is complete, each terminated side of the funicular is the seat of two forces which neutralize one another, and there remain only two uncompensated forces, viz., those resident in the first and last sides of the funicular. If these sides intersect, the resultant acts through the intersection, and its magnitude and direction are given by the line joining the first and last sides of the force-polygon (see fig. 26, where the resultant of the four given forces is denoted by R). As a special case it may happen that the force-polygon is closed, i.e. its first and last points coincide; the first and last sides of the funicular will then be parallel (unless they coincide), and the two uncompensated forces form a couple. If, however, the first and last sides of the funicular coincide, the two outstanding forces neutralize one another, and we have equilibrium. Hence the necessary and sufficient conditions of equilibrium are that the force-polygon and the funicular should both be closed. This is illustrated by fig. 26 if we imagine the force R, reversed, to be included in the system of given forces. It is evident that a system of jointed bars having the shape of the funicular polygon would be in equilibrium under the action of the given forces, supposed applied to the joints; moreover any bar in which the stress is of the nature ofatension (as distinguished from a thrust) might be replaced by a string. This is the origin of the names “1ink-polygon ” and “ funicular ” (cf. § 2).

If funiculars be drawn for two positions 0,0' of the pole in the force-diagram, their corresponding sides will intersect on a straight line parallel to OO'. This is essentially a theorem of projective geometry, but the following statical proof is interesting. Let AB (Hg. 27) be any side of the force-polygon, and construct the corresponding portions of the two diagrams, first with O and then with O' as pole. The force corresponding to AB may be replaced by the two components marked x, y; and a force corresponding to BA may be represented by the two components marked x', y'. Hence the forces x, y, x', y' are in equilibrium. Now x, x' have a resultant through H, represented in magnitude and direction by OO', whilst y, y' have a resultant through K represented in magnitude and direction by O'O. Hence HK must be parallel to OO'. This xvu. 31

theorem enables us, when one funicular has been drawn, to construct any other without further reference to the force-diagram. The complete figures obtained by drawing first the force-diagrams of a system of forces in equilibrium with two distinct poles O, O', and secondly the corresponding funiculars, have various interesting relations. In the first place, each of these figures may be conceived as an orthogonal projection of a closed plane-faced polyhedron. 2:

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FIG. 27.

As regards the former figure this is evident at once; viz. the polyhedron consists of two pyramids with vertices represented by O, O', and a common base whose perimeter is represented by the force polygon (only one of these is shown in fig. 28). As regards the funicular diagram, let LM be the line on which the pairs of corresponding sides of the two polygons meet, and through it draw any two planes w, w'. Through the vertices A, B, C, . . and A', B', C', . of the two funiculars draw normals to the plane of the diagram, to meet w and w' respectively. The points thus obtained are 'evidently the vertices of a polyhedron with plane faces. » B

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To every line in either of the original figures corresponds of course a parallel line in the other; moreover, it is seen that concurrent lines in either figure correspond to lines forming a closed polygon in the other. Two plane figures so related are called reciprocal, since the properties of the first figure in relation to the second are the same as those of the second with respect to the first. A still simpler instance of reciprocal figures is supplied by the case of concurrent forces in equilibrium (fig. 29). The theory of these reciprocal figures was first studied by J. Clerk Maxwell, who showed amongst other things that a reciprocal can always be drawn to any figure which is the orthogonal projection of a plane-faced polyhedron. If in fact we

take the pole of each face of such a polyhedron with respect to a paraboloid of revolution, these poles will be the vertices of a second polyhedron whose edges are the “ conjugate lines ” of those of the former. If we project both polyhedral orthogonally on a plane perpendicular to the axis of the paraboloid, we obtain two figures which are reciprocal, except that corresponding lines are orthogonal instead of parallel. Another proof will be indicated later (§ 8) in connexion with the properties of the linear complex. It is II