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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:

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:

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:

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:

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

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graduated cylinder to vary to the mass that is floating. 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.

measuring its geometry and/or the amount of water it displaces. Determine the specific density of the sample using its volume and mass.

Figure 1 The spring scale method for measuring the buoyant force and specific density. METHOD I. (Spring Scale Method) Using the spring scale, measure the buoyant force as a function of volume submerged for the wooden block (use eq.6). This is a test of Hypotheses # 1 and 2. To measure the submerged volume, consider placing a piece of tape marked with distances along the height of the block. Compare this volume to the increase in volume in the container as indicated by the rise in the water level (Hypothesis #3). Estimate the specific density of the wooden block. 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.

Figure 2 The pan balance method for measuring the buoyant force and specific density. METHOD III. (Graduated Cylinder Method) Determine the mass of the empty graduated cylinder and an average mass for the washers. Place about 10 washers in the graduated cylinder, and carefully place the cylinder in the beaker which is about 2/3 full of water. This initial loading with washers should insure that the cylinder floats upright, if not add more washers. Be careful not to have air bubbles under the base of the cylinder. Record the number of washers and volume markings on the graduated cylinder at the waterline as the cylinder floats. Add a washer, and record these values again. Repeat this process of adding washer and recording up to the point of sinking the cylinder. Plot volume marking vs number of washers

METHOD II. (Pan Balance Method)Determine the buoyant force and the specific density using the pan balance method, for several different samples. Measure the buoyant force on the samples using eq.10 Measure the specific density of the sample using eq.11 Measure the volume of the samples by

WARNINGS: Do not drop things on your feet. The support rods are at face level, be careful. Spilled water may make the floor slippery. Please be careful. Clean up your spills.

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EQUIPMENT: Golf ball and soft spring Spring scale Pan balance & mass set 50 ml graduated cylinder Various samples of materials Aluminum, copper, zinc, steel, Lead, & 2x4x4 wood block Ruler & calipers Beaker & small bucket Support rods & table clamps In room 250 steel washers Thread & scissors Thumb tacks

Q ii. Yielding the desired equation for the specific density:


Equipment notes: Be careful with units. Units for weight or force are different from units for mass. On the spring scales, check and if necessary reset the zero. On the pan balance, check the zero. Please do not spill water all over things. THEORY SPRING SCALE METHOD: Consider the forces on the sample and the associated free body diagrams, see fig.3. The sample is not accelerating when it is in or out of the water, so the sum of all forces must be zero. This produces two equations; the first involving: Tout and W, and the second involving: Tin, B and W. ( T is the tension as measured by the spring scale) Q i. Solve for the buoyant force B in terms of Tout and Tin:

Figure 3 Free body diagrams of sample, for out of the water is on the left; and in the water on the right. Tout and Tin are the tensions in the string.

One can combine eq.6 with eq.3, 4, and 5, to create a method of measuring the specific density by measuring the buoyant force, B, and the mass, m, of the object, or more conveniently Tout and Tin. By eq.3.

PAN BALANCE METHOD: For the pan balance method, consider the forces on the sample object and the forces on the water/beaker system. Q iii. Draw the free body diagrams for both the sample and the water/beaker system. Q iv. Since in both cases there is no acceleration, what does this say about the sum of the forces in each case. ( 4 equations in total., 2 objects, 2 cases) Q v. Since the water exerts a buoyant force, B, on the sample, by Newtons third law (equal and opposite forces) what is the force, b, that the sample exerts on the water/beaker system.


By eq.4: Q vi. Show that the buoyant force, B, for a wholly

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immersed object is:

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. Q vii. If the weight of the object is wobject, show that the specific density, sobject of the object is: Thus



This is the equation of a straight line with a slope of D, and if one determines the density of water using eq. 16, one does not need the mass of the empty cylinder or the volume of the base of the cylinder.

Q ix. Are your results linear as eq.16 predicts? Thus measuring the specific gravity of an object in the pan balance method is reduced to three measurements on the pan balance. Q viii. Can these weight measurements simply be replaced with mass measurements? Q x. If the cylinder is not setting vertically, how does this effect you measurements and the related uncertainties.

Graduated Cylinder Method For an object to float, the buoyant force, B, must equal the weight, W, of the object:

Q xi. Eq. 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. Is this a reasonable approximation and how can you improve upon this approximation.

If the VSUB is the volume submerged and D is the density of the fluid this results in:

ANALYSIS: A i. In part I, does hypothesis #1 and/or # 2 appear to be true within the uncertainties in your measurements? A ii. Does the volume of the object equal the volume it displaces? ( Hypothesis #3) A iii. Do the specific densities vary enough to allow you to determine the composition of the samples? A iv. What are the units associated with specific density?

In this method, the mass of the floating object, m, is the sum of the mass of the cylinder, mCYL, and the number of washers, n, times the mass of a single washer, mWASHER :

The submerged volume, VSUIB is (to fair approximation) the volume of the base, VBASE of the graduated cylinder plus, the volume, VMARK indicated by the volume markings on the graduated cylinder at the waterline,

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GOING FURTHER: This is a somewhat famous problem that a number of name brand physicists (like George Gamow, Robert Oppenheimer, and Felix Bloch) got wrong by not thinking carefully. Consider a boat in a swimming pool. There is a hole in the bottom of the boat and it is slowly taking on water. What changes in the water level of the swimming pool occur as the boat sinks, and when do they occur. ( See the Flying Circus of Physics WITH ANSWERS by Earl Walker, p.77 John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1977.) How much does the air in this room weigh or mass? Under normal conditions, the density of air is about 1.2 g/liter, which gives it a specific density of 1.3 x10 -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 1.3 g/ R x T( K) /273. What volume and temperatures seem reasonable for a hot air balloon?

SOME SPECIFIC DENSITIES: The density of water changes with temperature. As a fluid, water is unique in that its density is at a maximum at a temperature other than its freezing point. The density of water is a maximum of 1.0000 g/cm3 at 4 C At its boiling point the density of water drops to 0.9584 g/cm3 .

( from CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 39th Edition, ed. C.D.Hodgman, pp 1981-1990.Chemical Rubber Company, Cleveland, 1957.) Material Aluminum Beryllium Boron Calcium Copper Specific Density 2.7 1.8 3.3 1.5 8.9 19.3 7.9 0.5 13.6 21.4 2.4 10.5 4.5 18.7 Material Zinc Brass Steel Lead Granite Pine, white Pine, pitch Oak Maple Hickory Sea Water Milk Alcohol Gasoline Specific Density 7.1 8.4 7.8 11.0 2.5 0.25-0.5 0.8 0.6-0.9 0.6-0.75 0.6-0.9 1.025 1.0 0.8 0.67 0.0009

A Bit of History It is said that Archimedes used the principle of specific density to identify materials. Specifically, he was asked by his king to determine if the new crown was pure gold or if the goldsmiths were cheating. The general idea of density was already understood but the problem was in measuring the volume of the crown without destroying it. The story goes that Archimedes was frustrated by the problem and decided to take a relaxing bath. As he was lowering himself into a tub of water he notice that the water level rose. He realized that if he put the crown into water it would displace its own volume of water, i.e. the crowns volume is equal to the apparent increase of volume of water in the container. He ran naked through the streets yelling Eureka! P.S. The goldsmiths lost their heads.

Gold Iron Lithium Mercury Platinum Silicon Silver Titanium Uranium

Helium* 0.0018 Hydrogen* * under normal condition