It follows from the foregoing statement, that if there are little interstices between the molecules, the various bodies can be compressed together. This can be done in varying degrees with all solids, but liquids, generally, have little compressibility. Gases are readily reduced in volume by compression.


This is a property by virtue of which a body resumes its original form when compressed. India rubber, ivory and glass are examples of elasticity; whereas, lead and clay do not possess this property. Air is the most elastic of all substances.


This is a property of matter by virtue of which it cannot of itself change its state of motion or of rest.

Newton's first law of motion is, in substance, that matter at rest will eternally remain at rest, and matter in motion will forever continue in motion, unless acted on by some external force.

A rider is carried over the head of a horse when the latter suddenly stops. This illustrates the inertia of movement. A stone at rest will always remain in that condition unless moved by some force. That shows the inertia of rest.


This is the term to designate the quantity of motion in a body. This quantity varies and is dependent on the mass, together with the velocity. A fly wheel is a good example. It continues to move after the impelling force ceases; and a metal wheel has greater momentum than a wooden wheel at the same speed, owing to its greater mass.

If, however, the wooden wheel is speeded up sufficiently it may have the same momentum as the metal one.


All substances have what is called weight. This means that everything is attracted toward the earth by the force of gravity. Gravity, however, is different from weight. All substances attract each other; not only in the direction of the center of the earth, but laterally, as well.

Weight, therefore, has reference to the pull of an object toward the earth; and gravity to that influence which all matter has for each other independently of the direction.

Centripetal Force

This attraction of the earth, which gives articles the property of weight, is termed centripetal force - that is, the drawing in of a body.

Centrifugal Force

The direct opposite of centripetal, is centrifugal force, which tends to throw outwardly. Dirt flying from a rapidly moving wheel illustrates this.

Capillary Attraction

There is a peculiar property in liquids, which deserves attention, and should be understood, and that is the name given to the tendency of liquids to rise in fine tubes.

It is stated that water will always find its level. While this is true, we have an instance where, owing to the presence of a solid, made in a peculiar form, causes the liquid, within, to rise up far beyond the level of the water.

This may be illustrated by three tubes of different internal diameters. The liquid rises up higher in the second than in the first, and still higher in the third than in the second. The smaller the tube the greater the height of the liquid.

This is called capillary attraction, the word capillary meaning a hair. The phenomena is best observed when seen in tubes which are as fine as hairs. The liquid has an affinity for the metal, and creeps up the inside, and the distance it will thus move depends on the size of the tube.

The Sap Of Trees

The sap of trees goes upwardly, not because the tree is alive, but due to this property in the contact of liquids with a solid. It is exactly on the same principle that if the end of a piece of blotting paper is immersed in water, the latter will creep up and spread over the entire surface of the sheet.

In like manner, oil moves upwardly in a wick, and will keep on doing so, until the lighted wick is extinguished, when the flow ceases. When it is again lighted the oil again flows, as before.

If it were not for this principle of capillary attraction, it would be difficult to form a bubble of air in a spirit level. You can readily see how the liquid at each end of the air bubble rounds it off, as though it tried to surround it.


Sound is caused by vibration, and it would be impossible to convey it without an elastic medium of some kind.

Acoustics is a branch of physics which treats of sounds. It is distinguished from music which has reference to the particular kinds.

Sounds are distinguished from noises. The latter are discordant and abrupt vibrations, whereas the former are regular and continuous.

Sound Mediums

- Gases, vapors, liquids and solids transmit vibrations, but liquids and solids propagate with greater velocity than gases.


A vibration is the moving to and fro of the molecules in a body, and the greater their movement the more intense is the sound. The intensity of the sound is affected by the density of the atmosphere, and the movement of the winds also changes its power of transmission.

Sound is also made more intense if a sonorous body is near its source. This is taken advantage of in musical instruments, where a sounding-board is used, as in the case of the piano, and in the violin, which has a thin shell as a body for holding the strings.

Another curious thing is shown in the speaking tube, where the sound waves are confined, so that they are carried along in one line, and as they are not interfered with will transmit the vibrations to great distances.

Velocity Of Sound

The temperature of the air has also an effect on the rate of transmission, but for general purposes a temperature of 62 degrees has been taken as the standard. The movement is shown to be about 50 miles in 4 minutes, or at the rate of 1,120 feet per second.

In water, however, the speed is four times greater; and in iron nearly fifteen times greater. Soft earth is a poor conductor, while rock and solid earth convey very readily. Placing the ear on a railway track will give the vibrations of a moving train miles before it can be heard through the air.