# The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Volume 2 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 486 pages of information about The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci — Volume 2.

## III.

ON THE NATURE OF THE ARCH.

779.

WHAT IS AN ARCH?

The arch is nothing else than a force originated by two weaknesses, for the arch in buildings is composed of two segments of a circle, each of which being very weak in itself tends to fall; but as each opposes this tendency in the other, the two weaknesses combine to form one strength.

OF THE KIND OF PRESSURE IN ARCHES.

As the arch is a composite force it remains in equilibrium because the thrust is equal from both sides; and if one of the segments weighs more than the other the stability is lost, because the greater pressure will outweigh the lesser.

OF DISTRIBUTING THE PRESSURE ABOVE AN ARCH.

Next to giving the segments of the circle equal weight it is necessary to load them equally, or you will fall into the same defect as before.

WHERE AN ARCH BREAKS.

An arch breaks at the part which lies below half way from the centre.

SECOND RUPTURE OF THE ARCH.

If the excess of weight be placed in the middle of the arch at the point a, that weight tends to fall towards b, and the arch breaks at 2/3 of its height at c e; and g e is as many times stronger than e a, as m o goes into m n.

ON ANOTHER CAUSE OF RUIN.

The arch will likewise give way under a transversal thrust, for when the charge is not thrown directly on the foot of the arch, the arch lasts but a short time.

780.

ON THE STRENGTH OF THE ARCH.

The way to give stability to the arch is to fill the spandrils with good masonry up to the level of its summit.

ON THE EVIL EFFECTS OF LOADING THE POINTED ARCH DIRECTLY ABOVE ITS
CROWN.

ON THE DAMAGE DONE TO THE POINTED ARCH BY THROWING THE PRESSURE ON
THE FLANKS.

An arch of small curve is safe in itself, but if it be heavily charged, it is necessary to strengthen the flanks well.  An arch of a very large curve is weak in itself, and stronger if it be charged, and will do little harm to its abutments, and its places of giving way are o p.

[Footnote:  Inside the large figure on the righi is the note:  Da pesare la forza dell’ archo.]

781.

ON THE REMEDY FOR EARTHQUAKES.

The arch which throws its pressure perpendicularly on the abutments will fulfil its function whatever be its direction, upside down, sideways or upright.

The arch will not break if the chord of the outer arch does not touch the inner arch.  This is manifest by experience, because whenever the chord a o n of the outer arch n r a approaches the inner arch x b y the arch will be weak, and it will be weaker in proportion as the inner arch passes beyond that chord.  When an arch is loaded only on one side the thrust will press on the top of the other side and be transmitted to the spring of the arch on that side; and it will break at a point half way between its two extremes, where it is farthest from the chord.