Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh


VII.—On the Mechanical Action of Heat, especially in Gases and Vapours

William John Macquorn Rankinea1

a1 Civil Engineer

The ensuing paper forms part of a series of researches respecting the consequences of an hypothesis called that of Molecular Vortices, the object of which is to deduce the laws of elasticity, and of heat as connected with elasticity, by means of the principles of mechanics, from a physical supposition consistent and connected with the theory which deduces the laws of radiant light and heat from the hypothesis of undulations. Those researches were commenced in 1842, and after having been laid aside for nearly seven years, from the want of experimental data, were resumed in consequence of the appearance of the experiments of M. Regnault on gases and vapours.

The investigation which I have now to describe, relates to the mutual conversion of heat and mechanical power by means of the expansion and contraction of gases and vapours.