On the equilibrium of elastic solids

James Clerk Maxwell's paper about experiments relating to polarised light in materials including jelly.

Date: Written in 1850.
Publication: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Volume 20, Pages 87-120, 1853.

James Clerk Maxwell wrote his paper 'On the equilibrium of elastic solids' following experiments he carried out at his home in Glenlair.

Maxwell had set up an amateur laboratory in his home. Among experiments he conducted there were ones in which he observed polarised light in suitable materials. One of those materials was jelly. When twisted and compressed, it gave him an ideal means of observing stress patterns.

In his paper, Maxwell makes reference to scientists who carried out related work, notably: Hans Christian Oersted, Claude-Louis-Marie-Henri Navier, Sime?on-Denis Poisson, Gabriel Lamé and Emile Clapeyron.

Maxwell read his paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 18 February 1850.