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3. On the Effect of Oil on a Stormy Sea

  • John Aitken

The calming effect of oil on troubled waters is so well known and so often referred to, that we might have expected there would, by this time, have been a considerable amount of written information on the subject. This calming effect of oil is not only well known, but it has also become so stereotyped by constant repetition, that it seems to have acquired the stamp of classical antiquity upon it, yet one is surprised to find that reference to it in early writers is strangely conspicuous by its absence. Our knowledge of the subject seems to have lived almost entirely in tradition.

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note * page 64 This was found to be an excellent test of the cleanness of a surface film. If there is the slightest impurity on the surface it gets collected in front of the strip, and the paper cannot be moved quite to the end of the vessel without meeting with resistance.

note * page 71 “Calm Lines on a Rippled Sea,” Philosophical Magazine, Sept. 1862 (Fourth Series), vol. xxiv. p. 247, and Proceedings of Philosophical Society of Glasgow, 15th Feb. 1882.

note † page 71 I have also observed that rapidly flowing streams when they enter still water often have calm areas in front of them. This calmess seems to be due to the rapid absorption of the surface film of the stream which here takes place, and any surface impurities brought by the stream get concentrated and become sufficiently great to reduce the surface tension.

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Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • ISSN: 0370-1646
  • EISSN: 2059-9153
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-royal-society-of-edinburgh
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