A. E. H. Love, 2007. "“Historical Introduction” from A Treatise on the Mathematical Theory of Elasticity", Classics of Elastic Wave Theory, Michael A. Pelissier, Henning Hoeber, Norbert van de Coevering, Ian F. Jones
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The Mathematical Theory of Elasticity is occupied with an attempt to reduce to calculation the state of strain, or relative displacement, within a solid body which is subject to the action of an equilibrating system of forces, or is in a state of slight internal relative motion, and with endeavours to obtain results which shall be practically important in applications to architecture, engineering, and all other useful arts in which the material of construction is solid. Its history should embrace that of the progress of our experimental knowledge of the behaviour of strained bodies, so far as it has been embodied in the mathematical theory, of the development of our conceptions in regard to the physical principles necessary to form a foundation for theory, of the growth of that branch of mathematical analysis in which the process of the calculations consists, and of the gradual acquisition of practical rules by the interpretation of analytical results. In a theory ideally worked out, the progress which we should be able to trace would be, in other particulars, one from less to more, but we may say that, in regard to the assumed physical principles, progress consists in passing from more to less. Alike in the experimental knowledge obtained, and in the analytical methods and results, nothing that has once been discovered ever loses its value or has to be discarded; but the physical principles come to be reduced to fewer and more general ones, so that the theory is
Figures & Tables
In this chapter, we give a brief synopsis of each of the classic papers referred to in this collection. Where relevant, we reproduce the basic equations, recast in modern notation. Supporting works also are referred to. They are listed in the “General References” section.
Table 1 is a quick outline of the key contributions of each paper reprinted in this book.
Robert Hooke, “Potentia Restitutiva, or Spring” (Oxford, 1678)
The article by Robert Hooke, “Potentia Restitutiva, or Spring,” contains the statement of the proportional relation between stress and strain universally referred to as Hooke’s law. Although the English language has evolved somewhat since 1678, the article does not require translation. Hooke describes a variety of experiments, accompanied by illustrations, confirming the stress/strain relation over a wide range of applied loads. He emphasizes the great generality of his results.
Based on his experimental work from 1660 onward, Hooke first published his law in 1676 in the form of an anagram in Latin,
which he later revealed to be “ut tensio sic vis.” Roughly translated, this means “as the force, so is the displacement” (Love, 1911; Boyce and DiPrima, 1976).
In his treatise, Hooke examined the behavior of springs, so his first casting of the equations dealt with the restoring force on a spring, for a given displacement: