Gibbs citations and interpretations in the theory of surface tension of solids: A conceptual approach

  • V. A. Marichev
Physicochemical Processes at the Interfaces

Abstract

Josiah Willard Gibbs is definitely the most respectable and citable author in the surface tension of solids, however there are many incorrect citations of concepts and notions ascribed to Gibbs, but completely alien to his scientific heritage. Unfortunately, they became decidedly important for development of the contemporary theory of the surface tension of solids. For example, the erroneous notion of the “reversible cleavage”, as the conceptual background of this theory, appeared half a century after the most recent Gibbs’ works. Here we discuss not just formal linguistic, but conceptual matters using the advanced statistical method to identify wrong concepts ascribed to Gibbs. They existed in the theory of surface tension of solids for long decades and were accepted and used by most experts in this field. Today, we should formally recognize the high status of the current theory of surface tension of solids since it is supported by the scientific majority. It is based on the Shuttleworth equation, the vague concept of “reversible cleavage” and incorrect citations and interpretations of Gibbs thermodynamics. Up till now, neither this equation nor the theory as a whole had any experimental confirmations; moreover, they were shown to contradict all available experimental data. In connection with incorrect citations and interpretations of Gibbs works, we underline some pseudo-concepts and terms that Gibbs never used (like “reversible cleavage” or just “cleavage”), and contrarily, the important notions that Gibbs introduced for the first time, but almost nobody heard about them, for example -”actual and possible components” and the principal absence of “pure phases” in equilibrium of multiphase systems. We have also considered in detail the key difference between citation (as a possible free and often incorrect interpretation of the original text) and quotation (as an exact part of the original). Semantically citations and quotations are usually regarded as synonyms, but in practice it is not always correct and the sequences of their proposed equivalence might be critical for development of new concepts and theories.

Keywords

Surface Tension Surface Stress Contemporary Theory Soap Film Elastic Skin 

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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2012

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  • V. A. Marichev

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