# A Catechism of the Steam Engine eBook

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539. Q.—­Perhaps at high velocities this resistance may become less?

A.—­That appears very probable.  It may happen that at high velocities the adhesion is overcome, so that the water is dragged off the vessel, and the friction thereafter follows the law which obtains in the case of solid bodies.  But any such conclusion is mere speculation, since no experiments illustrative of this question have yet been made.

540. Q.—­Will a vessel experience more resistance in moving in salt water than in moving in fresh?

A.—­If the immersion be the same in both cases a vessel will experience more resistance in moving in salt water than in moving in fresh, on account of the greater density of salt water; but as the notation is proportionably greater in the salt water the resistance will be the same with the same weight carried.

541. Q.—­Discarding for the present the subject of friction, and looking merely to the question of bow and stern resistance, in what manner should the hull of a vessel be formed so as to make these resistances a minimum?

A.—­The hull should be so formed that the water, instead of being away driven forcibly from the bow, is opened gradually, so that every particle of water may be moved aside slowly at first, and then faster, like the ball of a pendulum, until it reaches the position of the midship frame, at which point it will have come to a state of rest, and then again, like a returning pendulum, vibrate back in the same way, until it comes to rest at the stern.  It is not difficult to describe mechanically the line which the water should pursue.  If an endless web of paper be put into uniform motion, and a pendulum carrying a pencil or brush be hung in front of it, then such pendulum will trace on the paper the proper water line of the ship, or the line which the water should pursue in order that no power may be lost except that which is lost in friction.  It is found, however, in practice, that vessels formed with water lines on this principle are not much superior to ordinary vessels in the facility with which they pass through the water:  and this points to the conclusion that in ordinary vessels of good form, the amount of power consumed in overcoming the resistance due to the wave at the bow and the partial vacuity at the stern is not so great as has heretofore been supposed, and that, in fact, the main resistance is that due to the friction.

[1] This statement supposes that there is no difference of level between the water at the bow and the water at the stern.  In the experiments on the steamer Pelican, the resistance was found to vary, as the 2.28th power of the velocity, but the deviation from the recognized law was imputed to a difference in the level of the water at the bow and stern.

## EXPERIMENTS ON THE RESISTANCE OF VESSELS.

542. Q.—­Have experiments been made to determine the resistance which steam vessels experience in moving through the waters?

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