Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov – Meditations on the Solidity and Liquidity of Bodies – Anticipating the loom
Type of Spiritual Experience
Beginning in 1747, Lomonosov carried on a series of experiments on cold, both alone and with his colleagues in the academy. These culminated in the freezing of mercury in a freezing mixture by Academician I. A. Braun on December 14, 1759, Lomonosov was closely associated with Braun in the work, which attracted wide attention throughout Europe, and he subsequently carried on a number of similar experiments himself. This work led him to a series of speculations on the freezing of bodies, and in August 1760 he set these down in a paper, which he presented in Russian to the Academy of Sciences on September 6, 1760. In this he also described some of the actual experiments on freezing mercury. The paper was soon issued in Russian as a separate publication by the Academy, and a Latin translation quickly followed, also as a separate book. The Russian and Latin texts have been published in Collected Works, III (1952), pp. 377-409, and the Russian text is in Selected Works., pp. 327-341. The Russian text, as written by Lomonosov himself, differs slightly from the Latin version and is a little longer. The following translation is from the Russian text.
In summary this is saying that the configuration of the resulting aggregates - the crystals - determines the attractive and repulsive force as there are more 'points' from which, analogously, the 'web' strands of the matrix/web can adhere. The more 'points' the denser and harder the substance.
A description of the experience
Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov - Meditations on the Solidity and Liquidity of Bodies [from On the Corpuscular Theory]; Translated, with an Introduction, by Henry M. Leicester [Professor of Biochemistry]; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970
For this reason let the students of nature cease to marvel and doubt that all special qualities of bodies can come from particles which have a spherical shape only, and especially take into consideration the force of cohesion of particles shown in the oration on the origin of light and colours. Beyond this, we take as an example an art by which from round threads, numberless and varied multitudes of tissues and networks of substances are produced in excellent designs by varying their positions..............
[now] we consider speculations on the different positions which the particles can occupy because of the spherical shape which was established with certainty above. Four spherical particles in close contact and a state of cohesion can be inscribed in an equilateral rhombic figure, and in a spacial position and in contact, this should have the form of a cube.....
............in the cubic form there should be twelve contacts between the eight particles, and in the rhombic, eighteen, from which it is not surprising that the particles placed in the rhombic form acquire hardness from it, losing liquidity more strongly when six more contacts are established