Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/132

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

the heat which, it employs. Waiving the too subtile question of the nature of heat, he devoted himself principally to fixing the conditions under which a maximum of work is yielded with a given quantity of heat. Guided by the purely philosophical idea of the equivalence of the work expended and the work produced, in perfect mechanics, he affirmed the analogous principle that the possible work is proportional to the quantity of heat employed and to certain functions of the temperatures of the vapor on coming in and going out. Carnot's annunciation of his theory was defective in that it took no notice of the fact that the hot body gives out more heat than the cold one receives from it, and that it regarded as equal the amount of heat received upon one isothermal side of a cycle and that emitted from the other side; a principle that may hold good for infinitely small cycles, but not for larger ones, in which a difference exists between the thermic quantities proportioned to the size of the cycle. This error and the true condition as pointed out by Clausius are defined by Prof. Rankine, who says, in his paper "On the Economy of Heat in Expansive Machines": "Carnot was the first to assert the law that the ratio of the maximum mechanical effect to the whole heat expended in an expansive machine is a function solely of the two temperatures at which the heat is respectively received and emitted, and is independent of the nature of the working substance. But his investigations, not being based on the principle of the dynamic convertibility of heat, involve the fallacy that power can be produced out of nothing. The merit of combining Carnot's law, as it is termed, with that of the convertibility of heat and power, belongs to Mr. Clausius and Prof. William Thomson; and, in the shape in which they have brought it, it may be stated thus: The maximum proportion of heat converted into expansive power by any machine is a function solely of the temperatures at which heat is received and emitted by the working substance, which function for each pair of temperatures is the same for all substances in nature." The law as thus modified and newly expressed might, as M. Langlois remarks, be designated as the equation of Clausius. But Clausius himself, acknowledging the influence which the Frenchman's ideas had exercised upon him, called it the theorem of Carnot. The second volume of the "Mechanical Theory of Heat" is almost wholly devoted to applications to electrical phenomena.

The reviewer in "Nature" of the English translation of this work says that the method of treatment pursued in it left hardly anything to be desired, "even from the point of view of a student previously ignorant of the subject. The reader is nowhere perplexed by uncouth symbols or analytical operations beyond those which are familiar to all acquainted with the principles of the differential and integral calculus. At the same time, . . . the reader is