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I.1 What is this practical about?
The aim of this practical work is to apply the principles taught in the physics tutorials and
lectures on hydrostatics (also named statics of fluids), which is the science of fluids at rest.
You may wear protective clothes for these experiments.
I.2 Preliminary exercises
Please prepare these exercises prior to the practical.

Exercise 1


Figure 1
We consider the wall of a tank which has water on one side and air on the other side (Fig. 1).
The wall has a square shape: its side length is denoted a and the angle between the wall and
the horizontal is denoted . In the following, represents the density of water whereas air
density is neglected.
Numerical application: a=9m, sin = 0.96, =1g/cm3, g=10 m.s-2.

(1) Force generated by fluids at rest

(1.1) Give the literal expression of the pressure p in water first as a function of the
altitude z and then as a function of the distance along the tank, considering
the origin at O.

(1.2) What is the literal expression of the elementary force

exerted on a wall strip

as a function of , g, a, and . Specify its modulus and make a sketch to
show how it is oriented.

(1.3) Deduce the literal expression of the resulting force


acting on the tank wall as

a function of , g, a, and . Specify its modulus and make a sketch to show
how it is oriented.

(2) Action point of the resulting force

Determine the position of the action point of the resulting F, denoted C.
(3) Numerical application: calculate F and the coordinates of C.


Exercise 2


Figure 2
A window has the shape of an equilateral triangle (ABC). Its length is h ((Fig.2). It is part of a
vertical wall. One side of the window is in contact with water of density and the other side
with air. We will assume that p 0=ct. The side BC of the triangle is parallel to the free surface
of water and located at the distance h to it.
(1) Force generated by fluids at rest
What is the literal expression of the modulus and the orientation of the resulting
force F acting on the window? Give its expression as a function of , h and g.
(2) Action point of the resulting force
Determine the coordinates of the action point of the resulting F, denoted C.

In this section of the practical the buoyancy (also called Archimedes principle) will be
determined quantitatively. Buoyancy is the upward force caused by the fluid pressure that
enables an object to float or seem at least lighter. It is equal to the magnitude of the weight of
the fluid displaced by the body.

Figure 1 : Archimedes. Domenico Fetti, 1620, Museum Alter Meister , Dresden,




Archimedes was a Greek scientist who lived in Syracuse (Sicily) from 287 B.C. to 212 B.C.
(Figure 1). He is known for his multiple scientific studies, theories and experiments in
mathematics as well as in physics. Among these studies is the one on floating objects that sets
the basis for what would later become hydrostatics. He studies rigorously the immersion of a
solid or liquid body in a fluid that has a lower, equal or higher density.

Available material
Bodies having different volumes and/or different masses, made out of various materials
(aluminium, brass, iron, zinc),

Two circular dynamometers with full scale of 1N and 2N to measure forces (the operating
principle is described in the appendix),

Different liquids: water, salt water,

A calliper,

A densimeter.

Practical work
1. With the material at hand, demonstrate the principle of buoyancy. Measure it for each
body immersed in water and write the associated uncertainty for each result.
2. What parameters influence the buoyancy?
3. Determine the density of salt water; explain how the densimeter works and use it to verify
your experimental result.
Given is the area of an n-sided regular polygon:
If R is the radius (distance from the centre to a vertex): S


n R2


Implementation: Exercise

A container carries two not miscible liquids in the field of gravity: oil ( oil = 600kgm-3) and
water (water = 1000kgm-3). A wooden sphere is also placed into this container ( wood =
1. Where will the sphere finally be located?
2. What fraction of the sphere is immersed in water?
3. The volume of a spherical cap of height h is V

h2 R
3 where R is the radius of

the corresponding sphere. Calculate the height immersed in water.



The aim of this chapter is to identify which parameters the pressure difference between two
points in a fluid depend on.

Available material
A water manoscope (see below).

An aquarium with water or salt water.

A 500mm ruler

Study of the manoscope

A manoscope consists of a manometer that is connected to a flexible pipe and plastic plunger
(Figure 2). A manometer measures the pressure difference between the gas volume confined
in a closed vessel and the atmospheric pressure. It performs a relative pressure measurement.
The difference in fluid height in the U-shaped tube partially filled with liquid and connected
to the environment at both ends of the tube is named h.

Flexible pipe
Screw for angular



Figure 2: Working principle of a manoscope.
1. Explain how the water manoscope works. Propose a method that enables the manoscope
to be calibrated.
2. If the manoscope can be read with millimeter precision, what is the smallest pressure
difference that can be measured with the water manoscope?

Practical work
1. How does the pressure vary under water within a horizontal plane?
2. Plot the pressure or pressure difference as a function of depth under water and salt water.



3. Based on a dimensional analysis, show that the slope of the linear regression is
homogeneous to a mass density times an acceleration.
4. If the measurements above had been made with a liquid that had twice the density of the
liquid you used, what would have been then the measured values for the various heights



In 1654 Otto von Guericke, mayor of Magdeburg thought of an experiment to show the
existence of atmospheric pressure. He used two metallic hemispheres with a seal. After having
pumped the air out of the sphere, 16 horses were needed to pull the hemispheres apart. The
scene below (Figure 3) shows this experiment in Magdeburg in the presence of the emperor
Ferdinand III.

Figure 3: a) Otto von Guereicke, b) hemispheres, c) historical experiment.

Reproduce this experiment and explain how it demonstrates the effect of atmospheric

A sphere is made out of two hemispheres of diameter D. Vacuum is created inside the two
hemispheres. What force does the operator need to apply to separate the hemispheres if D
= 87mm and p0 = 1bar?




Operating principle of the dynamometer

A dynamometer measures forces or moments. Here it is used to measure forces. The
dynamometers used in this practical make use of Hookes law stated by Robert Hooke in 1678
by this Latin phrase: ut tension, sic vis, meaning like the tension is the force. In other words
the elongation is proportional to the force.

Figure 4: a-b) Linear dynamometer, c) Dynamometer with spiral spring.

These dynamometers contain a spring with known stiffness. If subjected to a force (applied by
the bodies of this study), the spring is deformed and is elongated. After a calibration that takes
the spring stiffness into account, the scale (see Figure 5) allows the amplitude of the force
measured in Newton (N) to be read directly.

Figure 5: a) Elongation of the spring, b) Calibrated scale.