You are on page 1of 2

Archimedes' principle, principle that states that a body immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to

the weight of the displaced fluid. The principle applies to both floating and submerged bodies and to all fluids, i.e., liquids and gases. It explains not only the buoyancy of ships and other vessels in water but also the rise of a balloon in the air and the apparent loss of weight of objects underwater. In determining whether a given body will float in a given fluid, both weight and volume must be considered; that is, the relative density, or weight per unit of volume, of the body compared to the fluid determines the buoyant force. If the body is less dense than the fluid, it will float or, in the case of a balloon, it will rise. If the body is denser than the fluid, it will sink. Relative density also determines the proportion of a floating body that will be submerged in a fluid. If the body is two thirds as dense as the fluid, then two thirds of its volume will be submerged, displacing in the process a volume of fluid whose weight is equal to the entire weight of the body. In the case of a submerged body, the apparent weight of the body is equal to its weight in air less the weight of an equal volume of fluid. The fluid most often encountered in applications of Archimedes' principle is water, and the specific gravity of a substance is a convenient measure of its relative density compared to water. In calculating the buoyant force on a body, however, one must also take into account the shape and position of the body. A steel rowboat placed on end into the water will sink because the density of steel is much greater than that of water. However, in its normal, keel-down position, the effective volume of the boat includes all the air inside it, so that its average density is then less than that of water, and as a result it will float.

Archimedes' principle
The principle that the net fluid force on a body submerged (or floating) in a stationary fluid is an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body. This concept, perhaps the oldest stated principle in fluid mechanics, was first put forth by Archimedes in the third century B.C. In a static fluid, the weight of the fluid causes an increase in pressure with depth. Thus, at the surface of the fluid, the pressure is atmospheric pressure (p0 = 14.7 lb/in.2 = 101 kilonewtons/m2), while at a depth h the pressure has a larger value of p1, given by (1) Eq. (1), where is the specific weight of the fluid (weight/volume). The difference in pressure force between the bottom and the top of a water column is therefore given by Eq. (2), where h and A (2) are the height and area of the column, and pb and pt are the pressures at the bottom and top of the column. This difference is precisely equal to the weight W (3) of the water within the column, given by Eq. (3). If the water column were replaced with a solid object, the pressure forces on the object would be the same as on the original water column. That is, the net hydrostatic pressure force on the object, termed the buoyant force, would be equal to the weight of the water displaced (which is the statement of Archimedes' principle). The same concept holds for a body of arbitrary shape, which can be thought of a consisting of many small vertical columns fastened together. Archimedes' principle is valid for submerged or floating bodies in liquids or gases

Buoyancy
The resultant vertical force exerted on a body by a static fluid in which it is submerged or floating. The buoyant force FB acts vertically upward, in opposition to the gravitational force that causes it. Its magnitude is equal to the weight of fluid displaced, and its line of action is through the centroid of the displaced volume, which is known as the center of buoyancy. See Aerostatics, Hydrostatics By weighing an object when it is suspended in two different fluids of known specific weight, the volume and weight of the solid may be determined. See Archimedes' principle Another form of buoyancy, called horizontal buoyancy, is experienced by models tested in wind or water tunnels. Horizontal buoyancy results from variations in static pressure along the test section, producing a drag in closed test sections and a thrust force in open sections. These extraneous forces must be subtracted from data as a boundary correction. Wind tunnel test sections usually diverge slightly in a downstream direction to provide some correction for horizontal buoyancy. A body floating on a static fluid has vertical stability. A small upward displacement decreases the volume of fluid displaced, hence decreasing the buoyant force and leaving an unbalanced force tending to return the body to its

original position. Similarly, a small downward displacement results in a greater buoyant force, which causes an unbalanced upward force. A body has rotational stability when a small angular displacement sets up a restoring couple that tends to return the body to its original position. When the center of gravity of the floating body is lower than its center of buoyancy, it will always have rotational stability. Many a floating body, such as a ship, has its center of gravity above its center of buoyancy. Whether such an object is rotationally stable depends upon the shape of the body

Relationship Between Specific Gravity and Density


Unlike density, which has units of mass per volume, specific gravity is a pure number, i.e., it has no associated unit of measure. If the densities of the substance of interest and the reference substance are known in the same units (e.g., both in g/cm3 or lb/ft3), then the specific gravity of the substance is equal to its density divided by that of the reference substance. Similarly, if the specific gravity of a substance is known and the density of the reference substance is known in some particular units, then the density of the substance of interest, in those units, is equal to the product of its specific gravity and the density of the reference substance. The most widely used reference substance for determining the specific gravities of solids and liquids is water. Because the density of water is very nearly 1 g/cm3, the density of any substance in g/cm3 is nearly the same numerically as its specific gravity relative to water. In the English system of units the density of water is about 62.4 lb/ft3, so the near equality between specific gravity and density is not preserved in this system. Specific gravities of gases are often given with dry air as the reference substance. Because the densities of all substances vary with temperature and pressure, the temperature and (particularly for gases) the pressure for both the reference substance and the substance of interest are often included when precise values of specific gravities are given.

Methods of Determining Specific Gravity


A number of experimental methods for determining the specific gravities of solids, liquids, and gases have been devised. A solid is weighed first in air, then while immersed in water; the difference in the two weights, according to Archimedes' principle, is the weight of the water displaced by the volume of the solid. If the solid is less dense than water, some means must be adopted to fully submerge it, e.g., a system of pulleys or a sinker of known mass and volume. The specific gravity of the solid is the ratio of its weight in air to the difference between its weight in air and its weight immersed in water. Two methods are commonly used for determining the specific gravities of liquids. One method uses the hydrometer, an instrument that gives a specific gravity reading directly. A second method, called the bottle method, uses a "specific-gravity bottle," i.e., a flask made to hold a known volume of liquid at a specified temperature (usually 20C;). The bottle is weighed, filled with the liquid whose specific gravity is to be found, and weighed again. The difference in weights is divided by the weight of an equal volume of water to give the specific gravity of the liquid. For gases a method essentially the same as the bottle method for liquids is used. Specific gravities of gases are usually converted mathematically to their value at standard temperature and pressure (see STP).