VIII. THE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY
"In many cases we see motion cease without having caused another motion or the lifting of a weight. But a force once in existence cannot be annihilated—it can only change its form. And the question therefore arises, what other forms is force, which we have become acquainted with as falling force and motion, capable of assuming? Experience alone can lead us to a conclusion on this point. That we may experiment to advantage, we must select implements which, besides causing a real cessation of motion, are as little as possible altered by the objects to be examined. For example, if we rub together two metal plates, we see motion disappear, and heat, on the other hand, make its appearance, and there remains to be determined only whether MOTION is the cause of heat. In order to reach a decision on this point, we must discuss the question whether, in the numberless cases in which the expenditure of motion is accompanied by the appearance of heat, the motion has not some other effect than the production of heat, and the heat some other cause than the motion.
"A serious attempt to ascertain the effects of ceasing motion has never been made. Without wishing to exclude a priori the hypothesis which it may be possible to establish, therefore, we observe only that, as a rule, this effect cannot be supposed to be an alteration in the state of aggregation of the moved (that is, rubbing, etc.) bodies. If we assume that a certain quantity of motion v is expended in the conversion of a rubbing substance m into n, we must then have m + v - n, and n = m + v; and when n is reconverted into m, v must appear again in some form or other.
By the friction of two metallic plates continued for a very long time, we can gradually cause the cessation of an immense quantity of movement; but would it ever occur to us to look for even the smallest trace of the force which has disappeared in the metallic dust that we could collect, and to try to regain it thence? We repeat, the motion cannot have been annihilated; and contrary, or positive and negative, motions cannot be regarded as = o any more than contrary motions can come out of nothing, or a weight can raise itself.
"Without the recognition of a causal relation between motion and heat, it is just as difficult to explain the production of heat as it is to give any account of the motion that disappears. The heat cannot be derived from the diminution of the volume of the rubbing substances. It is well known that two pieces of ice may be melted by rubbing them together in vacuo; but let any one try to convert ice into water by pressure, however enormous. The author has found that water undergoes a rise of temperature when shaken violently. The water so heated (from twelve to thirteen degrees centigrade) has a greater bulk after being shaken than it had before. Whence now comes this quantity of heat, which by repeated shaking may be called into existence in the same apparatus as often as we please? The vibratory hypothesis of heat is an approach towards the doctrine of heat being the effect of motion, but it does not favor the admission of this causal relation in its full generality. It rather lays the chief stress on restless oscillations.
"If it be considered as now established that in many cases no other effect of motion can be traced except heat, and that no other cause than motion can be found for the heat that is produced, we prefer the assumption that heat proceeds from motion to the assumption of a cause without effect and of an effect without a cause. Just as the chemist, instead of allowing oxygen and hydrogen to disappear without further investigation, and water to be produced in some inexplicable manner, establishes a connection between oxygen and hydrogen on the one hand, and water on the other.
"We may conceive the natural connection existing between falling force, motion, and heat as follows: We know that heat makes its appearance when the separate particles of a body approach nearer to each other; condensation produces heat. And what applies to the smallest particles of matter, and the smallest intervals between them, must also apply to large masses and to measurable distances. The falling of a weight is a diminution of the bulk of the earth, and must therefore without doubt be related to the quantity of heat thereby developed; this quantity of heat must be proportional to the greatness of the weight and its distance from the ground. From this point of view we are easily led to the equations between falling force, motion, and heat that have already been discussed.
"But just as little as the connection between falling force and motion authorizes the conclusion that the essence of falling force is motion, can such a conclusion be adopted in the case of heat. We are, on the contrary, rather inclined to infer that, before it can become heat, motion must cease to exist as motion, whether simple, or vibratory, as in the case of light and radiant heat, etc.
"If falling force and motion are equivalent to heat, heat must also naturally be equivalent to motion and falling force. Just as heat appears as an EFFECT of the diminution of bulk and of the cessation of motion, so also does heat disappear as a CAUSE when its effects are produced in the shape of motion, expansion, or raising of weight.
"In water-mills the continual diminution in bulk which the earth undergoes, owing to the fall of the water, gives rise to motion, which afterwards disappears again, calling forth unceasingly a great quantity of heat; and, inversely, the steam-engine serves to decompose heat again into motion or the raising of weights. A locomotive with its train may be compared to a distilling apparatus; the heat applied under the boiler passes off as motion, and this is deposited again as heat at the axles of the wheels."