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**ARCHIMEDES’ PRINCIPLE AND SPECIFIC DENSITY
**

GOAL: To investigate buoyant force and Archimedes’ principle. To measure the specific density of several materials. INTRODUCTION: Try pushing down on a basketball in water and you feel the buoyant force that makes the ball float. As more of the ball is pushed beneath the water, the upward force becomes greater. One could make a first guess (Hypothesis #1) that the buoyant force increases with the submerged volume of the object. A more mathematical guess (Hypothesis #2) might be that the upward or buoyant force, B, is proportional to the submerged volume, Vsub, of the object. feathers, is in fact a statement that the density of lead is greater than the density of feathers. Recall for a homogeneous object with a volume, V, and a density, D , has a mass, m:

(4)

Thus the statement that lead is heavier than feathers, is correct if equal volumes of the two materials are compared. For many practical applications, it is important to be able to compare densities of various materials. One could compile a list that compares the density of everything to density of everything else, but it is easier to compare the densities of everything to just one substance, water. Water is chosen because it is very readily available and is frequently used in the measurement of density. One defines for a material with a density, Dk, a specific density, sk as:

(1)

One could try to find the correct proportionality constant for eq.1. If Hypothesis #1 or 2 are true, then once an object is completely underwater the buoyant force on it will remain constant. Does this correspond to your experience? When an object is placed in a container of water, the level of the water rises. The level raises the same height as if the volume of water was increased by the submerged volume of the object, i.e the volume of water the object displaces. Although it seems obvious that the object pushes the water out of the way and the water must go somewhere, this is an idea that is easy to test. Hypothesis # 3 is: (2) Archimedes’ principle ( from Fundamentals of Physics, 3rd edition extended, Halliday &Resnick p.371, John Wiley&Sons New York, 1988) is:

(5)

where Dwater is the density of water = 1.000 g/cm3 . This simple number is no accident because in the metric system the size of the gram was based on the mass of a cubic centimeter of water. One thing that makes specific gravity useful is that it is the same, regardless of the units used for volume, mass, weight and density. PROCEDURE: Three methods of measuring the buoyant force will be used. But first just a demo experiment. Connect the golf ball and the weak spring and slowly lower the ball into the water. What is the result? In the first method, the object being studied is suspended from a spring scale, see fig.1. As the object is lowered into the water, the reading on the scale will decrease. Although this a straightforward procedure, the spring scales are not very accurate. The second method is less direct. The container of water is on a pan balance. As the object is lowered into the water, the weights on the balance will need to be readjusted to keep the balance balanced, see fig.2. The advantage of this method is that the pan balance is much more accurate than the spring scale.

A body wholly or partially immersed in a fluid will be buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid that it displaces.

The buoyant force in a fluid with a density, DF, is:

(3)

The intuitive notion that lead is “heavier” than In the third method, a graduated cylinder is placed in a beaker of water. Washers are place in the

Consider using the weights from the mass set to extend this measurement into the experimental region where the buoyant force exceeds the weight of the block. (Spring Scale Method) Using the spring scale. Plot volume marking vs number of washers METHOD II. for several different samples. measure the buoyant force as a function of volume submerged for the wooden block (use eq. (Graduated Cylinder Method) Determine the mass of the empty graduated cylinder and an average mass for the washers. Figure 1 The spring scale method for measuring the buoyant force and specific density. Be careful not to have air bubbles under the base of the cylinder.6).11 Measure the volume of the samples by WARNINGS: Do not drop things on your feet. Measure the buoyant force on the samples using eq. From the mass of the floating object and it volume ( that is part of why a graduated cylinder is used) the density of water is obtained. be careful. measuring its geometry and/or the amount of water it displaces. METHOD III. and carefully place the cylinder in the beaker which is about 2/3 full of water. Determine the specific density of the sample using its volume and mass. Repeat this process of adding washer and recording up to the point of sinking the cylinder. and record these values again. Please be careful. if not add more washers. Record the number of washers and volume markings on the graduated cylinder at the waterline as the cylinder floats. consider placing a piece of tape marked with distances along the height of the block. (Pan Balance Method)Determine the buoyant force and the specific density using the pan balance method. Clean up your spills. Place about 10 washers in the graduated cylinder. This initial loading with washers should insure that the cylinder floats upright. Figure 2 The pan balance method for measuring the buoyant force and specific density.Physics 141 Archimedes --2 graduated cylinder to vary to the mass that is floating. The support rods are at face level. To measure the submerged volume.10 Measure the specific density of the sample using eq. . This is a test of Hypotheses # 1 and 2. Compare this volume to the increase in volume in the container as indicated by the rise in the water level (Hypothesis #3). Spilled water may make the floor slippery. METHOD I. Estimate the specific density of the wooden block. Add a washer.

2 cases) Q v. The sample is not accelerating when it is in or out of the water. see fig. on the sample. 2 objects. Draw the free body diagrams for both the sample and the water/beaker system. PAN BALANCE METHOD: For the pan balance method. for a wholly . and in the water on the right. B and W. copper. or more conveniently Tout and Tin. This produces two equations..6 with eq. Q iv. 4. B. consider the forces on the sample object and the forces on the water/beaker system. Show that the buoyant force. (7) By eq. B. ( 4 equations in total. by Newton’s third law (equal and opposite forces) what is the force. Since in both cases there is no acceleration. check the zero. of the object. Units for weight or force are different from units for mass. and the mass. and 5. Since the water exerts a buoyant force. m. THEORY SPRING SCALE METHOD: Consider the forces on the sample and the associated free body diagrams. the first involving: Tout and W. (6) One can combine eq. and the second involving: Tin. Tout and Tin are the tensions in the string.3.3. b.4: Q vi. B. ( T is the tension as measured by the spring scale) Q i. for out of the water is on the left.3. zinc. to create a method of measuring the specific density by measuring the buoyant force. steel. that the sample exerts on the water/beaker system. By eq. Lead. & 2x4x4 wood block Ruler & calipers Beaker & small bucket Support rods & table clamps In room 250 steel washers Thread & scissors Thumb tacks (8) Q ii. so the sum of all forces must be zero.Physics 141 Archimedes --3 EQUIPMENT: Golf ball and soft spring Spring scale Pan balance & mass set 50 ml graduated cylinder Various samples of materials Aluminum. On the pan balance. Please do not spill water all over things. Q iii. what does this say about the sum of the forces in each case. Solve for the buoyant force B in terms of Tout and Tin: Figure 3 Free body diagrams of sample. Yielding the desired equation for the specific density: (9) Equipment notes: Be careful with units. check and if necessary reset the zero. On the spring scales.

W. Q viii. mCYL. VSUIB is (to fair approximation) the volume of the base. show that the specific density. .16 predicts? Thus measuring the specific gravity of an object in the pan balance method is reduced to three measurements on the pan balance. In part I. one does not need the mass of the empty cylinder or the volume of the base of the cylinder. of the object: Q xi. sobject of the object is: Thus (15) (16) This is the equation of a straight line with a slope of D. If the weight of the object is wobject. m. VMARK indicated by the volume markings on the graduated cylinder at the waterline. Graduated Cylinder Method For an object to float. Q vii. 16. B. VBASE of the graduated cylinder plus. does hypothesis #1 and/or # 2 appear to be true within the uncertainties in your measurements? A ii. how does this effect you measurements and the related uncertainties. must equal the weight. the buoyant force. Can these weight measurements simply be replaced with mass measurements? Q x. Are your results linear as eq.Physics 141 Archimedes --4 immersed object is: (10) where WB is the weight measured using the pan balance with the beaker of water before the object is immersed and Wc is the pan balance reading for the beaker of water with the object immersed. mWASHER : (14) The submerged volume. is the sum of the mass of the cylinder. and the number of washers. times the mass of a single washer. What are the units associated with specific density? (13) In this method. 15 for the submerged volume of the graduated cylinder assumes that the volume of the linear part of the cylinder is the same inside and out. and if one determines the density of water using eq. Is this a reasonable approximation and how can you improve upon this approximation. (11) Q ix. If the cylinder is not setting vertically. Do the specific densities vary enough to allow you to determine the composition of the samples? A iv. n. Eq. the mass of the floating object. Does the volume of the object equal the volume it displaces? ( Hypothesis #3) A iii. the volume. (12) If the VSUB is the volume submerged and D is the density of the fluid this results in: ANALYSIS: A i.

5 0. As a fluid.6-0. the crown’s volume is equal to the apparent increase of volume of water in the container.8 0. He realized that if he put the crown into water it would displace its own volume of water.0000 g/cm3 at 4 C° At its boiling point the density of water drops to 0. He ran naked through the streets yelling “Eureka!” P.3 g/ R x T( K) /273.0009 A Bit of History It is said that Archimedes used the principle of specific density to identify materials. Robert Oppenheimer.9 1.67 0.2 g/liter. What volume and temperatures seem reasonable for a hot air balloon? SOME SPECIFIC DENSITIES: The density of water changes with temperature.8 11.D.e.4 10. water is unique in that its density is at a maximum at a temperature other than its freezing point. The story goes that Archimedes was frustrated by the problem and decided to take a relaxing bath. 1977.9 19.) Material Aluminum Beryllium Boron Calcium Copper Specific Density 2. New York.77 John Wiley and Sons. ( See the Flying Circus of Physics WITH ANSWERS by Earl Walker. The general idea of density was already understood but the problem was in measuring the volume of the crown without destroying it. What changes in the water level of the swimming pool occur as the boat sinks.9584 g/cm3 . Gold Iron Lithium Mercury Platinum Silicon Silver Titanium Uranium Helium* 0.3 7.5 4.5 0. ed.6 21.S.3 x10 -3 .0 0. Specifically. pp 1981-1990.5 8.6-0.Physics 141 Archimedes --5 GOING FURTHER: This is a somewhat famous problem that a number of name brand physicists (like George Gamow.8 3. What volume of air would have to be displaced to lift you? If helium or hydrogen were displacing the air. what volume of each would be needed to lift you? The density of air varies with temperature as 1. C.75 0.0018 Hydrogen* * under “normal condition” . white Pine. he was asked by his king to determine if the new crown was pure gold or if the goldsmiths were cheating. The density of water is a maximum of 1. As he was lowering himself into a tub of water he notice that the water level rose. There is a hole in the bottom of the boat and it is slowly taking on water. The goldsmiths lost their heads. ( from CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.6-0.5 18. pitch Oak Maple Hickory Sea Water Milk Alcohol Gasoline Specific Density 7.Hodgman. Consider a boat in a swimming pool.4 2. i.7 1.4 7.0 2.7 Material Zinc Brass Steel Lead Granite Pine. which gives it a specific density of 1. p.1 8.025 1.8 0.25-0.3 1. Cleveland.Chemical Rubber Company. and when do they occur. 39th Edition.9 0.) How much does the air in this room weigh or mass? Under “normal conditions.9 0.5 13. and Felix Bloch) got wrong by not thinking carefully.” the density of air is about 1. 1957.

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