Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/94

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80 Dr. Young's Essay

to the pressure of a column appropriate to their distance. Morveau found that two discs of glass, 3 inches French in diameter, at the distance of one-tenth of a line, appeared to cohere with a force of 4719 grains, which is equivalent to the pressure of a column 23 lines in height: hence the product of the height and the distance of the plates is 2.3 lines, instead of 2.65, which was the result of Monge's experiments on the actual ascent of water. The difference is much smaller than the difference of the various experiments on the ascent of fluids; and it may easily have arisen from a want of perfect parallelism in the plates; for there is no force tending to preserve this parallelism. The error, in the extreme case of the plates coming into contact at one point, may reduce the apparent cohesion to one half.

The same theory is sufficient to explain the law of the force by which a drop is attracted towards the junction of two plates inclined to each other, and which is found to vary in the inverse ratio of the square of the distance; whence it was inferred by Newton that the primitive force of cohesion varies in the simple inverse ratio of the distance, while other experiments lead us to suppose that cohesive forces in general vary in the direct ratio of the distance. But the difficulty is removed by considering the state of the marginal surface of the drop. If the plates were parallel, the capillary action would be equal on both sides of the drop: but when they are inclined, the curvature of the surface at the thinnest part requires a force proportionate to the appropriate height to counteract it; and this force is greater than that which acts on the opposite side. But if the two plates are inclined to the horizon, the deficiency may be made up by the hydrostatic weight of the drop itself;