About Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is most well known for his beautiful artworks and notebooks. He is less well know for his very early work on the origins of friction and wear, and design of intricate machines and devices.

Leonardo Lady with Ermine

La confregazione fatta da uno medesimo peso sarà d'eguale resistenzia nel principio del suo moto, ancora che ‘l contatto sia di diverse larghezze o lunghezze.

The friction made by the same weight will be of equal resistance at the beginning of its movement although the contact may be of different breadths and lengths.

Codex Forster II 133r and 132v, 1493/4

From his experiments Leonardo had deduced what we commonly call Amontons laws of friction. That is that friction is independent of area and directly proportional to the normal load. The page from the Codex Forster III 72r shows his sketches of an assembly of blocks drawn by a rope over pulleys.

Codex Forster III 72r

La confregazione si fa di duplicata faticain duplicato pesa.

Friction is of double the effort for double the weight

Codex Forster III 72r

Leonardo's notebooks are full of beautiful sketches of machines and devices. The sketches include designs for bearings, screws, gears; all machine elements in common use today. The logo we use for the Leonardo Centre is from Codex Madrid I 20v; note how similar it is to a modern rolling element bearing.

Leonardo bearing codex madrid

a b c d e f g h are wood balls to move a weight. i k l m n o p q they are inpolate wheels that keep those balls in order, that make the turning and cannot escape

Codex Madrid I 20v

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