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The Emergencies of Mechanics and Thermodynamics in the Western Technoscience-Society during Eighteenth–Nineteenth Century

Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS,volume 27)

Abstract

In this paper, we present a brief history of the development of mechanics and mechanical machines theory (particularly in Lazare Carnot) and consequently the birth and advanced studies in thermodynamics and heat machines (particularly in Sadi Carnot) that influenced science & technology (as technoscience) in Western society between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We focus on theoretical aspects of thermodynamics efficiency—for improvements of practical studies from cannons to civil steam engines. Considerations on mechanical and thermodynamic machines and correlated topics like the role played by the impossibility of perpetual motion in mechanical and heat machines are discussed.

Keywords

  • Mechanics
  • Machines
  • Carnot
  • Thermodynamics
  • Cannons
  • Steam engines
  • Physics–mathematics–geometry relationships
  • Western civilization & science in context
  • Technoscience

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Briefly, just to specify that the total conversion work–heat is only produced within particular ideal conditions (i.e, thermodynamics cyclic process) in which the internal energy can change (∆U) during the course of a cyclic process; when the cyclic process finishes the system’s energy is the same as the energy it had when the process began (∆U = 0). This also means that the ideal equivalence (idealistic total conversion) work–heat ( W = Q) is obtained. Conventionally, within the loop of the cyclic process, W is positive, then it represents the heat engine case-study; if W is negative, then it represents a heat pump case-study.

  2. 2.

    We make precise that the conservation law is a crucial concept in between the history of mechanics and thermodynamics because, i.e., it was a concept faraway from Leibniz ( mv) Descartes ( mv 2) and Newton ( motion lost) science.

  3. 3.

    Carnot (1786, pp. ix–x, pp. 89–94, pp. vij–ix, pp. 86–87; see also 1780, §§ 151–152); Gillispie (1971, Appendix C, §§ 151–152, pp. 328–329).

  4. 4.

    Carnot (1978, p. 8, ft. 1, line 1).

  5. 5.

    Gille 1966, p. 240 (see also Gille 1964, French original text).

  6. 6.

    Author’s italics.

  7. 7.

    E.g., Leonardo da Vinci (Schneer 1973; Pisano 2009, 2014).

  8. 8.

    “[ …] ipsique globi ex sese continuum et aeternum motum efficient, quod est falsum”. Stevin (1605, p. 35; see also Stevin 1605–1608a, b, c, 1634).

  9. 9.

    Carnot (1786, pp. 88–89) (Authors’ Italic style).

  10. 10.

    Carnot (1786, p. 95; see also p. 94). On principle of perpetual motion and virtual laws, see Pisano (2014).

  11. 11.

    Reuleaux (1876, p. 35).

  12. 12.

    On that, For sake of brevity we remind a deepen discussion to our papers (Pisano and Bussotti 2014, 2015).

  13. 13.

    Hydraulic machines have been built and theorized from different standpoints. Generally speaking and related to heat machines and analogies at that time. We mainly refer to waterwheels for their large and civil use at that time. Particularly, undershot and overshot waterwheels.

  14. 14.

    Di Giorgio Martini, Ms. Saluzziano 148, c. 34v. Source: Ibidem.

  15. 15.

    Smeaton (1759, pp. 105–106). Author’s capital and italic. Particularly interesting are his reasonings concerning an early conceptualization of energy (Ivi 1782, pp. 341–344). We have no room to describe correlated conservation principles with regard to the emergencies of new sciences, i.e., like heat and electricity. However, we mention that “probably a vibration of the corpuscles of bodies tending to separate them” (1799) is how Humphry Davy (1778–1829) defined mechanical contrivances and heat.

  16. 16.

    Smeaton (1782, p. 130). Author’s italic. See also Smeaton (1776, pp. 455–458). Author’s italic.

  17. 17.

    Generally, the motive power for an undershot wheel was 33 –50 %; and Vis viva was consumed by friction. The motive power for an overshot wheel: 52 –76 %. It may be higher in studying an array of wheels and speeds. In the same experimental conditions and waterfall, an overshot effect paddle wheel is (on average) double an undershot effect paddle wheel. A larger wheel-total waterfall produced larger effects.

  18. 18.

    On Lazare and Sadi Carnot we refer (sometime directly) to: Gillispie and Pisano (2014). Recently one of us wrote an advanced work on the development of principle of virtual laws taking into account Lazare Carnot’s mechanics as case study (Pisano 2014). See also Dhombres and Dhombres (1997).

  19. 19.

    Carnot (1786, §  X, p. 21), see also Reinhard (1950–1952).

  20. 20.

    For an extensive discussion see: Gillispie and Pisano (2014), Pisano (2014).

  21. 21.

    Carnot (1786, pp. 28–34, 41–45, 1780, § 113); Gillispie (1971, Appendix C, § 113, pp. 308–309); Gillispie and Pisano (2014, Chap. 2 and Chap. 11).

  22. 22.

    In this context, one may remember the decisive role played—according to authoritative historians—by the notion of efficiency in order to assure the validity of the law of energy conservation (Kuhn 1959; see also 1960, 1962).

  23. 23.

    Richmann (1750, pp. 171–172). He wrote “caloris” that correspond to our modern magnitude temperature.

  24. 24.

    “De quantitate caloris, quae post miscelam fluidorum, certo gradu calidorum, oriri debet, cogitations”, Ivi.

  25. 25.

    Lavoisier attempted an early distinction between heat and temperature. (Lavoisier 1789, pp. 12–17, line 37).

  26. 26.

    In 1978, Robert Fox published an excellent critical edition of the Réflexions sur la puissance mostrice du feu, including crucial interpretative analyses. Here, he suggests that a technological study of Sadi’s book cannot explain the originality of either theory or reasoning (Carnot 1978; English: Carnot 1986; Fox 1988).

  27. 27.

    See also: Fox (1971b), Reech (1853, pp. 357–378), Lamé (1836).

  28. 28.

    Sadi Carnot wrote a mathematical (only) footnote (Carnot 1978, ft. n. 1, pp. 73–79; Gillispie and Pisano 2014).

  29. 29.

    Some of them: Liouville (1836), Dirichlet (1837), Reech (1853), Riemann (1861 [1868] cited in Weber 1892, pp. 391–404). Riemann’s lecture (1861) “on the conduction of heat” was not published until 1868 (Spivak 1979, pp. 179–182). For Eugenio Beltrami, the titles were: 1871–1874 Ricerche sulla cinematica dei fluidi; 1882 Sulle equazioni generali dell’elasticità; 1884 Sulla rappresentazione delle forze newtoniane per mezzo di forze elastiche; 1889 Note fisico–matematiche.

  30. 30.

    Mach (1986, p. 201, line 37). (Author’s italics and “( )” ).

  31. 31.

    Carnot (1978, p. 32).

  32. 32.

    Mach (1986, pp. 201–202, line 40). (Author’s italic).

  33. 33.

    White (1962, pp. 161–162).

  34. 34.

    See Gillispie (1960), Chandler (1995), Adkin (2002), Wilkinson-Latham (1975).

  35. 35.

    Let us note that the experimental nature of this set of principles was also emphasised by Dugas (1956).

  36. 36.

    The term expansive force of vapor or expansive force of heat or expansive force of caloric was largely used at the time. Sadi Carnot used this term, too (Carnot 1978, p. 5). For details see Gillispie (Gillispie 1976) and Gillispie and Pisano (2014, pp. 400–403, and references in the note 67, p. 401).

  37. 37.

    Sadi Carnot’s Recherche d’une formule propre à représenter la puissance motrice de la vapeur d’eau–unpublished manuscript (Carnot S–EP s.d; see also Carnot 1986, pp. 167–180). Generally speaking, the correct date of publication still lacks historical decisive evidence. More or less the most recent Carnot historians agree on a date before 1824 (Gillispie and Pisano 2014, Chap. 3).

  38. 38.

    Challey (1971). “Sadi Carnot” in Gillispie 1970–1980, vol III, pp. 79–84. See also Kuhn (1962 ), Takayama (1979). Just a few lines to remark that Sadi Carnot knew James Watt’s works (1736–1819) as one of us (RP) saw in his dossier at the Ecole polythétique de Paris. The Scottish engineer proposed a cycle of working operations of the entire engine but not of the working substance, for which he only proposed a prolongation of the isothermal expansion with a phase of adiabatic expansion. Finally, just two of the four phases were proposed by Carnot’s cycle (Gillispie and Pisano 2014, Chap. 8).

  39. 39.

    Moreover in “Notes sur les Mathématiques, la physiques et autre sujets” he clearly introduced his “thèse générale” on the energy: “[…] la puissance motrice est en quantité invariable dans la nature, qu’elle n’est jamais à proprement parler ni produite, ni détruite.” (“Notes sur les Mathématiques, la physiques et autre sujets” III, folios 7, 44, line 9 in: Picard 1927, p 81, line 14).

  40. 40.

    Sadi Carnot only wrote a mathematical footnote (Carnot 1978, pp. 73–79, ft. n. 1). Both calculus and reasoning mathematical footnote are published (into Italian) by: Pisano (2001, 205–230), Drago and Pisano (2005, pp. 37–58).

  41. 41.

    Robert Fox in Carnot (1986, pp. 2–3, line 7).

  42. 42.

    He translated Carnot’s book into German, aiding its dissemination. We also remark that in his famous Traité élémentaire de chimie Lavoisier had already dedicated some pages to the definition calorique and chaleur heat which he defined in a different way, according to different context (Lavoisier [1789] 1973, pp. 12–17, line 37; see Pisano and Franckowiak 2014).

  43. 43.

    This is only valid if the heat, as well as the caloric, remains constant. For Carnot’s cycle one may refer to: Kuhn (1955, pp. 91–94; Id., 1961, pp. 567–574); Mendoza (1963, pp. 262–263), Klein (1976, pp. 213–219); Montbrial (1976, pp. 333–335).

  44. 44.

    Koenig (1959, pp. 57–111).

  45. 45.

    Carnot (1786, 1803, 1813). See also “Note” in Carnot (1813, pp. 213–257). Poisson (1781–1840) also wrote about a cycle in Traité de Mécanique: Poisson (1833, pp. 5–16; 1823 (II), pp. 552–554); one can also see critical discussions in Truesdell (1970, pp. 36–38; 1980, pp. 208–235). But all these studies are occasional facts that do not seem to be inspirited by S. Carnot.

  46. 46.

    Naturally, as long as there are no collisions and the shifting is done “par degrees insensible”, that is, in Sadi Carnot’s (Carnot 1978, p 33, line 9) reasoning, “rétablissement […] d’équilibre dans le calorique”, reversibility, in modern times.

  47. 47.

    Robert Fox in Carnot (1986, p 147, En. 78, line 1). (Authors’ quotations).

  48. 48.

    Carnot (1978, p. 66, line 10). Since there is no room here, we refer to Gillispie and Pisano’s book (2014) for other contributors to completion of the history of mechanics and thermodynamics after Sadi Carnot’s formulation of the efficiency of a heat machine.

  49. 49.

    Klein in Taton (1976, p. 214, line 19).

  50. 50.

    The school was closed on 1795. Thus it was re–founded on 1808, 17th March. On this model, the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (Italy) was founded (1810) as a branch of the École normale supérieure and later gained independence.

  51. 51.

    Sadi Carnot stressed (Carnot 1978, p. 18, ft. 1, pp. 75–76; see also Gillispie and Pisano 2014, Chaps. 7–8.) that his own is the same method of infinitesimal analysis; really the method and almost the same words are those of the father Lazare in his celebrated work on calculus (Carnot 1813; Pisano, Capecchi and Lukešová 2013).

  52. 52.

    Paolo Ballada Count de Saint–Robert (1815–1888) was an Italian and military mechanicist and thermodynamicist who recuperated the useful information for writing a first sketch of the life and the works of Sadi Carnot (Pisano 2007a, 2007b; Gillispie and Pisano 2014, pp. 319–335).

  53. 53.

    For historical accounts on that: Pisano (2009b); Pisano and Gaudiello (2009a, 2009b).

  54. 54.

    Carnot (1786, pp. 28–34, pp. 41–45; see also 1780, § 113); Gillispie (1971, Appendix C, § 113, pp. 308–309).

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Pisano, R., Bussotti, P. (2015). The Emergencies of Mechanics and Thermodynamics in the Western Technoscience-Society during Eighteenth–Nineteenth Century. In: Pisano, R. (eds) A Bridge between Conceptual Frameworks. History of Mechanism and Machine Science, vol 27. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9645-3_21

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