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SCIENCE. I .I

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NEW SYSTEM OF INLAND TRANSPORT.I…

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NEW SYSTEM OF INLAND TRANSPORT. ♦ An experiment has just been made on the Forth and Clyde Canal, in Scotland, which seems likely to be followed by very important consequences, in a scientific as well as commercial view, and to affect seriously the relative value of property in canals and railways. It is well known, that there is a system of canal navigation practised on some canals in Scotland, in which light iron vesselscapa- ble of carry ing from 60 to 100 passengers,are towed along by a couple of horses, at the rate of ten miles an hour; and this is affected by what is called riding on the wave. This new system of wave navigation, the theory of which has been fully ex- plained in the reports of the meetings of the British Association, given annually in the Athenaeum, has hitherto been limited in its use by the speed of horses, and been thrown back into comparative ob- scurity by the brilliant feats of the locomotive engine, whirling its ponderous burden along the iron railway with the speed of the winds. The experiment, however, to which we now allude shows that the same mighty machine is capa- ble of performing feats equally astonishing in water as in land-carriage. A locomotive engine, running along the banks of the Canal, drew a boat loaded with sixty or scrent.,i passengerat a ra te of more than nineteen miles an hour and this speed was not exceeded, only because the engine is an old-fashioned coal-engine, whose maximum speed, without any load, does not exceed twenty miles an hour; so that there is every reason to infer that, with an engine of the usual construction employed on railways, thirty, forty, or fifty miles an hour will become as practicable on a canal as on a railway. Thus the wave theory, which was formerly a beati- tiful speca'ation of science, becomes the basis of a new system of inland water transport, and abstract science receives new illustrations from the practi cal application of its principles. The experiments to which we refer, were performed in the presence of a number of men of science, and gentlemen in- terested in the improvement of canals and naviga- tion, under the direction of Mr. Macneill. The predictions of science never received more perfect accomplishment, or more beautiful illustra- tion, than on this occasion. It is well knolln to those who have studied what has been written on this subject, that the wave of the Forth and Clyde canal, from its great depth, travels at the rate of about eleven or twelve miles an honr, and that, consequently, in order to "ride on the wave," it would be necessary to draw the boat at fourteen or fifteen miles an hour—a speed hitherto impractica- ble, beoause above the available speed of horses but it had been confidently predicted, that these high velocities, the violent surges usual at veloci- ties of eight or nine miles an hour, would wholly disappear, and the vessel ride the summit of a smooth undulating wave, exciting comparatively little commotion in the waters of the canal. Two of the experiments performed set this truth in a remarkable light-Experiment No. 3 being per- formed with an ill-shaped passage-boat, which the engine had not power to drag 1, over the wave," and Experiment No. 1, with a boat suited to higher velocities. Now, it happened as predicted, that the boat moved at a less velocity than that of the wave, raised a high and powerful wave at the bow, which overspread the banks of the canal, and threw up behind it a foaming and most injurious surge; while, on the other hand, the vessel which moved at the higher velocity rode smooth and even on the top of the placid and gentle wave, leaving behind it no commotion but the sudden collapse of the .parted waters. These experiments are as follows: EXPERIMENT I.—A passage boat filled with passengers, drawn by the Locomotive Engine, passed over Yards. Seconds. 110 in 12.4 } 220 24.5 Being a velocity of above 19 miles an 330.. 36.8 hour. riding the wave, with very slight 440 49.2 { commotion of the water. 550 61.8 ) EXPERIMENT III.-A passage boat, containing passengers and baggage, but uusuited to high velo- cities, drawn by the Locomotive Engine, passed over Yards. Seconds. 2-?0 6" 0 1 Eein<» a velocity of about 7 miles an W) Qfi 2 hour only, with a large wave raided 440 197 R I up at the bow and rolling over the VJ) I bank' and an after S"rg:e tearin? 660 1.90 8 along the side, the boat being behind 770 221.8 J tke tCaVe' Besides these experiments, there were others highly interesting in a practical view. A large fleet, consisting of three schooners, three sloops, two canal traders, and one small boat, forming a gross weight of about 800 tons, were dragged along the canal simultaneously, with no other force than the simple adhesion of the wheel of the carriage to the surface of the rail. In another experiment, a train of five boats, capable of carrying 400 to 500 pas- sengers, was taken along at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. The results of the day's experiments appear to us most promising: phenomena in the motion of fluids, and of vessels on the water, hithertounseen, will be brought to light, and applications of mechanical power and mercantile resources, hi- therto unheard of, will be called forth.-Athenaunt.

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