R. Clausius (1879)


The Mechanical Theory of Heat by Rudolf Clausius, translated by Walter R. Browne and published in 1879 by Macmillan and Co. in London. This is a modern print-on-demand copy from Bibliobazaar.


A must-have book for those who want to know exactly how Clausius worked his way to the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their associated fundamental equations. Clausius explains things clearly and takes care not to lose the reader as he unfolds the argument. I enjoy reading him.



Many representations having been made to the author from different quarters that the numerous papers “On the Mechanical Theory of Heat,” which he had published at different times during a series of years, were inaccessible to many who, from the widespread interest now felt in this theory, were anxious to study them, he undertook same years back to publish a complete collection of his papers relating to the subject.

As a fresh edition of this book has now become necessary, he has determined to give it an entirely new form. The Mechanical Theory of Heat, in its present development, forms already an extensive and independent branch of science. But it is not easy to study such a subject from a series of separate papers, which, having been published at different times, are unconnected in their form, although they agree in their contents. Notes and additions, however freely used to explain and supplement the papers, do not wholly overcome the difficulty. The author, therefore, thought it best so to re-model the papers that they might form a connected whole, and enable the work to become a text-book of the science. He felt himself the more bound to do this because his long experience as a lecturer on the Mechanical Theory of Heat at a Polytechnic School and at several Universities had taught him how the subject-matter should be arranged and represented, so as to render the new view and the new method of calculation adopted in this somewhat difficult theory the more readily intelligible. This plan also enabled him to make use of the investigations of other writers, and by that means to give the subject greater completeness and finish. These authorities of course have been in every case duly recognized by name. During the ten years which have elapsed since the first volume of papers appeared, many fresh investigations into the Mechanical Theory of Heat have been published, and as these have also been discussed, the contents of the volume have been considerably increased.

Therefore in submitting to the public this, the first part of his new investigation of the Mechanical Theory of Heat the author feels that, although it owes its origin to the second edition of his former volume, still, as it contains so much that is fresh, he may in many respects venture to call it a new work.


Bonn, December 1875.

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