Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 096.djvu/31

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on the Force of Percussion.

impact of different bodies was not examined by Smeaton, and it may be worth while to shew that when the whole energy of a body A is employed without loss in giving velocity to a second body B, the impetus which B receives is in all cases equal to that of A, and the force transferred to B, or by it to any third body C, (if also communicated without loss, and duly estimated as a mechanic force,) is always equal to that from which it originated.

As the simplest case of entire transfer, the body A may be supposed to act upon B in a direct line through the medium of a light spring, so contrived that the spring is prevented by a ratchet from returning in the direction towards A, but expands again entirely in the direction towards B, and by that means exerts the whole force which had been wound up by the action of A, in giving motion to B alone. In this case, since the moving force of the spring is the same upon each of the bodies, the accelerating force acting upon B at each point is to the retarding force opposed to A at the corresponding points in the reciprocal ratio of the bodies, and the squares of the velocities produced and destroyed by its action through a given space will consequently be in that same ratio. The momentum, which is in the simple reciprocal ratio of the bodies, might consequently be increased at pleasure by the means proposed, in the subduplicate ratio of the bodies employed; and if momentum were an efficient force capable of reproducing itself, and of overcoming friction in proportion to its estimated magnitude, the additional force acquired by such a means of increase, might be employed for counteracting the usual resistances, and perpetual motion would be easily effected. But since the impetus remains unaltered, it is evident

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