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# ARCHIMEDES PRINCIPLE

## Bundalian, Patrick John Edbert G., Phy11L/A3

patrickbundalian@gmail.com

Abstract
Archimedes Principle states any fluid applies a buoyant force to an object that is partially or
completely immersed in it: the magnitude of the buoyant force equals the weight of the fluid
that the object displaces. In performing the first part of the experiment what we did was we
recorded the weight in air and the weight in water of the two solids. Proceeding to the second
part of the experiment what we did was we chose one of the two metals and we recorded its
weight while submerged into the two unknown liquids. For the third part of the experiment
what we did was measure the density of the two unknown liquids with the use of a hydrometer.
For the last part of the experiment what we did was we first recorded the weight in air of the
cork, then the weight of cork in air and the sinker in water.
Keywords: Buoyancy, Buoyant force, Depth, Dense object, Hydrometer

Introduction
Archimedes discovered that the weight of a body in air minus its weight in liquid is equivalent
to the weight of the liquid displaced by the body. When a body or an object is fully or partly
submerged in a liquid, that body experiences an upward force called buoyant force. Also the
displaced liquid is the volume of liquid equal to the volume of the body below the waters
surface. Density is a characteristic physical property of a substance which means that there are
no two materials have the same density. Specific gravity is defined as the weight of the body
compared with an equal amount of pure water at 4OC wherein water is densest.
The buoyant force is described by Archimedes principle as: an object, when placed in a fluid,
is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. The principle
applies to an object either entirely or partially submerged in the fluid. The magnitude of the
buoyant force depends only on the weight of the displaced fluid, and not on the objects weight.
Using Archimedes principle, you can deduce that an object:
1. Will float in a fluid if the objects density is less than the fluids density (PO<Pf).
2. Will sink if the objects density is greater than the fluids density (Po>Pf).
3. Will remain in equilibrium at a given submerged depth if the objects density is exactly
equal to the fluids density at that depth (Po=Pf).
The buoyant force on a floating object Fb is related to the properties of the displaced fluid by:
Fb = mfg = pfVog

(1)

Where pf is the density of the fluid, Vo is the volume of the submerged part of the object, is the
acceleration due to gravity, and mf is the mass of the floating object. The volume of the
submerged part of a cylinder oriented vertically is equal to its cross-sectional area A multiplied
by the height of the submerged part, so the buoyant force on it is:
1

## Fb= mfg = pfAgh

(2)

This is a linear relationship between Fb and , so if you lower the cylinder into a fluid as you
measure its weight, then plot Fb vs. h , the slope of the plotted straight line will be pfAg , i.e.,
directly proportional to the density of the fluid. This is a cool way to determine the density of
an unknown fluid. You can determine the density of an unknown solid object in a similar
fashion. Its easy to measure the mass of an object, but unless it has a regular shape its not so
easy to measure its volume. But Archimedes showed us how to measure volume by measuring
weight. When the object is completely submerged in water, its weight (but not its mass) will
decrease by an amount equal to the upward buoyant force the water exerts on it. So,
Wo = WA - Ww

(3)

Where Wo is the loss of weight of water, WA is the weight of an object in air and W w is the
weight of an object in water.
This upward force is also equal to the weight of the displaced water. Or,
Wo = Ww = mwg = pwgVw

(4)

## Where mw is the mass of an object in water and pw is the density of water.

But the volume of the water is equal to the volume of the object. So,
Vw = Vo =

Wo
pwg

(5)

## Therefore, the density of the object is,

Po =

Mo
Vo

Mo pwg
=

Wo

(6)

You can also determine the density of an unknown liquid without measuring the submerged
height of the solid object. With an object with density greater than that of the unknown liquid,
first weigh it in air, then when it is submerged in the liquid, and then when it is submerged in
water. By an analysis identical to that for the density of a solid object, you can show that,
Wo(inliquid)

Po = Wo(inwater)Pw

(7)

Specific gravity is defined as the weight of the body compared with an equal amount of pure
water at 4C (4C is the temperature at which water is densest). It also tells the number of times
a certain material is denser than water. Specific gravity has no unit. The specific gravity of a
substance is the ratio of that substance to the density of water. Mathematically:
ps

SGS = pw

(8)

Where SGs is the specific gravity of a substance, PS is the density of the substance and pw is
the density of water.

Methodology
In this experiment, we used a digital balance a simple two-button operation and visual menu
prompts that allow students to begin weighing with minimal instruction; a piece of hydrometer
that has an ability to find the density of various fluids by putting the float and chain into the
fluid, and measuring the amount of chain which floats; two pieces of 250-ml graduated
cylinders glassware that can hold liquids; three pieces of 250-ml beaker; one piece of cork,
string and metal specimen.
The first part of the experiment deals with the determination of the specific gravity of an
unknown solid sample heavier than water. Where, the first metal sample (the gold one) at one
side of a platform balance was suspended and found its weight in air (WA).
Afterwards, we submerge the sample completely in a beaker of water and measure its weight
while it is in water (Ww). We computed for the loss of weight of the sample using (eq. 3).
Additionally, the specific gravity is also determined using the equation: G = WA / WA- Ww. We
repeat the same procedures using the other sample (the white one) and compared the
experimental value with the actual values. We identified that sample 1 was brass and sample 2
was a aluminum. Moving on to the second part, which is the determination of the specific
gravity of an unknown liquid sample.
We choose the aluminum as our metal sample to be used again in this part. We adjusted the
string that is slightly tied up on the hook in such a way that the aluminum would be submerged
completely in the first liquid sample and recorded its weight in liquid. Again, using (eq. 3), we
find the loss of weight of body in liquid and determined the specific gravity using the equation:
SG = WA-WL / WA-WW. Following the same procedures, we changed the liquid sample,
compared the experimental with the actual values and finally identified the liquid samples.
Before proceeding in the third part, we make sure that the liquids were transferred into two
The results gathered from the second part can be seen using another apparatus which is by a
hydrometer.
Whereas, it is placed inside the graduated cylinder, letting it float and record the reading. A
higher specific gravity will result in a greater length of the stem above the surface while lower
specific gravity will cause the hydrometer to float lower.
Completing the whole experiment, which is the determination of specific gravity of a solid
lighter than water; for this, the corks weight was recorded and being able to suspend from a
string together with the sinker weve chosen (brass).
We find the weight with just the sinker underwater, WCA-SW , and with both sinker and cork
underwater, W(S+C)w . Considering the given weights, we compute for the loss of weight of cork
using (eq. 3). Lastly, we determined the specific gravity of the cork using the equation: SG =
WA / WCA-SW - W(S+C)w .

## Results and Discussion

(a)

(b)

(c)

(e)

(d)

Fig 1. The equipment used in the experiment (L-R): (a) electronic weighing scale and iron
stand; (b) unknown metals and cork; (c) beaker; (d) hydrometer; (e) graduated cylinders.
In the first part of the experiment, the specific gravity was determined using the weights of two
unknown metal samples in air and their weight in water. These two things are the only data
needed for the determination of specific gravity because of the efficiency brought about by
deriving the formula.
Table 1. Determination of Specific Gravity of Unknown Liquids Using Hydrometer
TABLE 1.1. Determination of Specific Gravity of
Unknown Liquids Using Hydrometer

Specific Gravity
Name of Sample
Percent Error

Sample 1

Sample 2

0.84

1.00

Alcohol

0.82

2.44%

Water

1.00

0.00%

The result for the alcohol that yields with a 2.44 % error can be a result of impurities and/or as
a result of the water being tested first with the hydrometer and used when testing the alcohol
without having dried completely. And with this data obtained , succeeding parts of the
experiment can be done, particularly Procedure A for the fact that it must be the water to be
used.
Table 2. Determination of Specific Gravity of Unknown Solid Samples Heavier than Water
TABLE 1.2. Determination of Specific Gravity of
Unknown Solid Samples Heavier than Water
Sample 1

Sample 2

Weight in air,

19.90 g

44.90 g

Weight in water,

17.60 g

27.20 g

Specific Gravity

8.65

2.54

Name of Sample
Percent Error

Copper

8.89

2.68%

Aluminum

2.70

6.05%

Observing the data gathered in Table 2, it shows that in the two unknown liquid samples, the
weight of the sample metal in air is greater than the weight of the sample metal in water. The
reason for this is that because of the upward buoyant force, water exerts an upward force, which
is the buoyant force, making the tension due to weight of the sample metal smaller. Having the
specific gravity of 0.84 and 1.00, respectively, determination of the name of the unknown
liquids will be easy. The unknown liquids are alcohol and water, respectively. Additionally, it
can be seen that the loss of weight in liquid is lesser in alcohol than in water. Although it is not
obvious that it is equal to the buoyant force of the liquid. Moreover, the trend goes that when
loss of weight in liquid increases, then specific gravity also increases. So when the liquid is
more buoyant, then the liquid has higher density. It has a greater force to rise up the object
immersed on it. Furthermore, brass which is less dense than water has a displaced mass lesser
than water. Moving on, the third part is the determination of specific gravity of unknown liquids
using hydrometer.
The percent error calculated was 0 % so the specific gravity gathered was accurate.
For materials lighter than water, it is difficult to determine its specific gravity using
Archimedes principle since the object will just float in water. In order to do this, a sinker was
used.

## Table 3. Determination of Specific Gravity of Unknown Liquids

TABLE 1.3. Determination of Specific Gravity of Unknown Liquids
Sample 1

Sample 2

Weight in air,

19.90 g

Weight in water,

17.60 g

18.00 g

17.70 g

1.90 g

2.20 g

0.83

0.96

## Specific Gravity, Gravity =

Name of Sample

Alcohol

Percent Difference

0.82

Water

0.74%

1.00

4.44%

## Table 4. Determination of Specific Gravity of Solid Lighter than Water

TABLE 1.4. Determination of Specific Gravity of Solid Lighter than Water
Name of Sample: CORK
Weight of cork in air,

3.80 g

21.40 g

## Weight of both sinker and cork in water, +

17.80 g

Specific Gravity, =

1.06

The overall volume displaced by the cork and the sinker will be the volume of the two
components. Since mass and density of the sinker is known, we could easily substitute the
value for the determination of the density or specific gravity of the unknown. When the weight
of the cork in air, the weight of sinker alone and with the cork at water, we can compute for the
specific gravity of the cork. The loss of weight of cork is simply the buoyant force exerted by
the water to the cork.

Conclusions
Archimedes principle states that a body, when it is completely or partially immersed in a fluid
experiences a buoyant force, which is equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces. This principle
is a law that can be used to explain up thrust or buoyancy. Buoyant force is an up thrust or
upward force exerted by a fluid on an object immersed init resulting in the apparent loss of
weight of the object.
In this experiment, we determined the density and specific gravity of solids and liquids
following Archimedes principle. Density and specific gravity of materials are unique on each
object that makes it as a tool in the identification of the material. Density is the ratio of the
mass per unit volume. While, specific gravity is the ratio of the density of the material with the
density of the reference liquid which is water. When an object is submerged in liquid, there is
a buoyant force present in water pushing up the object. This buoyant force causes the object to
lessen its weight. Furthermore, the buoyant force is also the weight of the liquid displaced by
the object. The weight loss of liquid is in equivalent magnitude to buoyant force. We could
derive for the formula on determining the specific gravity from buoyancy and the net force of
the system. By that method, the density of the object can be readily determined. Thats why,
specific gravity would be the measure of the relative density of the object compared to water.
Considering Archimedes principle in real world, it helps to function the submarines, hot air
balloons, ships and the like.

References
 Halliday, Fundamentals of Physics, 9th edition.
 http://www.brightstorm.com/science/physics/oscillatory-motion/archimedes-principle
 http://www.physics247.com/physics-tutorial/archimedes-principle.shtml