equilibrium of the superficial forces, if the surface of the fluid make with that of the solid a certain angle, the versed sine of which is to the diameter, as the mutual attraction of the fluid and solid particles is to the attraction of the particles of the fluid among each other. For, when the fluid is surrounded by a vacuum or by a gas, the cohesion of its superficial particles acts with full force in producing a pressure; but when it is any where in contact with a solid substance of the same attractive power with itself, the effects of this action must be as much destroyed as if it were an internal portion of the fluid. Thus, if we imagined a cube of water to have one of its halves congealed, without any other alteration of its properties, it is evident that its form and the equilibrium of the cohesive forces would remain undisturbed: the tendency of the new angular surface of the fluid water to contract would therefore be completely destroyed by the contact of a solid of equal attractive force. If the solid were of smaller attractive force, the tendency to contract would only be proportionate to the difference of the attractive forces or densities, the effect of as many of the attractive particles of the fluid being neutralised, as are equivalent to a solid of a like density or attractive power. For a similar reason, the tendency of a fluid to contract the sum of the surfaces of itself and a contiguous solid, will be simply as the density of the solid, or as the mutual attractive force of the solid and fluid. And it is indifferent whether we consider the pressure produced by these supposed superficial tensions, or the force acting in the direction of the surfaces to be compared. We may therefore inquire into the conditions of equilibrium of the three forces acting on the angular particles, one in the direction of the surface of the fluid only, a
Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/97
on the Cohesion of Fluids.