Arches which depend on chains for their support will not be very durable.
THAT ARCH WILL BE OF LONGER DURATION WHICH HAS A GOOD ABUTMENT OPPOSED TO ITS THRUST.
The arch itself tends to fall. If the arch be 30 braccia and the interval between the walls which carry it be 20, we know that 30 cannot pass through the 20 unless 20 becomes likewise 30. Hence the arch being crushed by the excess of weight, and the walls offering insufficient resistance, part, and afford room between them, for the fall of the arch.
But if you do not wish to strengthen the arch with an iron tie you must give it such abutments as can resist the thrust; and you can do this thus: fill up the spandrels m n with stones, and direct the lines of the joints between them to the centre of the circle of the arch, and the reason why this makes the arch durable is this. We know very well that if the arch is loaded with an excess of weight above its quarter as a b, the wall f g will be thrust outwards because the arch would yield in that direction; if the other quarter b c were loaded, the wall f g would be thrust inwards, if it were not for the line of stones x y which resists this.
Here it is shown how the arches made in the side of the octagon thrust the piers of the angles outwards, as is shown by the line h c and by the line t d which thrust out the pier m; that is they tend to force it away from the centre of such an octagon.
An Experiment to show that a weight placed on an arch does not discharge itself entirely on its columns; on the contrary the greater the weight placed on the arches, the less the arch transmits the weight to the columns. The experiment is the following. Let a man be placed on a steel yard in the middle of the shaft of a well, then let him spread out his hands and feet between the walls of the well, and you will see him weigh much less on the steel yard; give him a weight on the shoulders, you will see by experiment, that the greater the weight you give him the greater effort he will make in spreading his arms and legs, and in pressing against the wall and the less weight will be thrown on the steel yard.
ON FOUNDATIONS, THE NATURE OF THE GROUND AND SUPPORTS.
The first and most important thing is stability.
As to the foundations of the component parts of temples and other public buildings, the depths of the foundations must bear the same proportions to each other as the weight of material which is to be placed upon them.