82 | Dr. Young's Essay |
distance to which it extends, and owing its apparent diversity to the contrary action of the repulsive force, which varies with the distance. Now in the internal parts of a liquid these forces hold each other in a perfect equilibrium, the particles being brought so near that the repulsion becomes precisely equal to the cohesive force that urges them together; but whenever there is a curved or angular surface, it may be found by collecting the actions of the different particles, that the cohesion must necessarily prevail over the repulsion, and must urge the superficial parts inwards with a force proportionate to the curvature, and thus produce the effect of a uniform tension of the surface. For, if we consider the effect of any two particles in a curved line of a third at an equal distance beyond them, we shall find that the result of their equal attractive forces bisects the angle formed by the lines of direction; but that the result of their repulsive forces, one of which is twice as great as the other, divides it in the ratio of one to two, forming with the former result an angle equal to one-sixth of the whole; so that the addition of a third force is necessary in order to retain these two results in equilibrium; and this force must be in a constant ratio to the evanescent angle which is the measure of the curvature, the distance of the particles being constant. The same reasoning may be applied to all the particles which are within the influence of the cohesive force: and the conclusions are equally true if the cohesion is not precisely constant, but varies less rapidly than the repulsion.
VII. Cohesive Attraction of Solids and Fluids.
When the attraction of the particles of a fluid for a solid is less than their attraction for each other, there will be an