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Significant Scots
William J.M. Rankine


Trained as a civil engineer, William Rankine was appointed to the chair of civil engineering and mechanics at Glasgow in 1855. He developed methods to solve the force distribution in frame structures.

He worked on heat, and attempted to derive Sadi Carnot's law from his own hypothesis. His work was extended by Maxwell. Rankine also wrote on fatigue in the metal of railway axles, on Earth pressures in soil mechanics and the stability of walls. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1853.

Among his most important works are Manual of Applied Mechanics (1858), Manual of the Steam Engine and Other Prime Movers (1859) and On the Thermodynamic Theory of Waves of Finite Longitudinal Disturbance .


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