Among the Forces eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Among the Forces.

The force of crystallization is used by us in many inferior ways, as in making crystals of rock candy, sulphur, salt, etc., but for the making of diamonds it is too much for us, except in a small way.

While we cannot yet use the force that builds large white diamonds we can use the diamonds themselves.  Set a number of them around a section of an iron tube, place it against a rock, at the surface or deep down in a mine, cause it to revolve rapidly by machinery, and it will bore into the rock, leaving a core.  Force in water, to remove the dust and chips, and the diamond teeth will eat their way hundreds of feet in any direction; and by examining the extracted core miners can tell what sort of ore there is hundreds of feet in advance.  Hence, they go only where they know that value lies.


Ultimate atoms of matter are asserted to be impenetrable.  That is, if a mass of them really touched each other, that mass would not be condensible by any force.  But atoms of matter do not touch.  It is thinkable, but not demonstrable, that condensation might go on till there were no discernible substance left, only force.

Matter exists in three states:  solid, liquid, and gas.  It is thought that all matter may be passed through the three stages—­iron being capable of being volatilized, and gases condensed to liquids and solids—­the chief difference of these states being greater or less distance between the constituent atoms and molecules.  In gas the particles are distant from each other, like gnats flying in the air; in liquids, distant as men passing in a busy street; in solids, as men in a congregation, so sparse that each can easily move about.  The congregation can easily disperse to the rarity of those walking in the street, and the men in the street condense to the density of the congregation.  So, matter can change in going from solids to liquids and gases, or vice versa.  The behavior of atoms in the process is surpassingly interesting.

Gold changes its density, and therefore its thickness, between the two dies of the mint that make it money.  How do the particles behave as they snuggle up closer to each other?

Take a piece of iron wire and bend it.  The atoms on the inner side become nearer together, those on the outside farther apart.  Twist it.  The outer particles revolve on each other; those of the middle do not move.  They assume and maintain their new relations.

Hang a weight on a wire.  It does not stretch like a rubber thread, but it stretches.  Eight wires were tested as to their tensile strength.  They gave an average of forty-five pounds, and an elongation averaging nineteen per cent of the total length.  Then a wire of the same kind was given time to adjust itself to its new and trying circumstances.  Forty pounds were hung on one day, three pounds more the next day, and so on, increasing the weights by diminishing quantities, till in sixty days it carried fifty-seven pounds.  So it seems that exercise strengthened the wire nearly twenty-seven per cent.

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Among the Forces from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.