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# EXPERIMENT 206 ARCHIMEDES PRINCIPLE

Manlapaz, Sarih S.
Physics Department, Mapa Institute of Technology
ssmanlapaz@mymail.mapua.edu.ph

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 soilds. 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, the
weight of cork in air and sinker in water.

I. Introduction

Archimedes dicovered 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 4
O
C wherein water is densest.

II. Theory

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
(P
O
<P
f
)
2. Will sink if the objects density is
greater than the fluids density (P
o
>P
f
).
3. Will remain in equilibrium at a given
submerged depth if the objects density
is exactly equal to the fluids density at
that depth(P
o
=P
f
).

The buoyant force on a floating object F
b
is
related to the properties of the displaced fluid
by:

F
b
= m
f
g = p
f
V
o
g

Where p
f
is the density of the fluid,V
o
is the
volume of the submerged part of the object, is
the acceleration due to gravity, and m
f
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:

F
b
= m
f
g = p
f
Agh

This is a linear relationship between F
b
and , so if
you lower the cylinder into a fluid as you
measure its weight, then plot F
b
vs. h , the slope
of the plotted straight line will be p
f
Ag , 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

W
o
= W
A
- W
w

Where W
o
is the loss of weight of water, W
A
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

W
o
= W
w
= m
w
g = p
w
gV
w

Where m
w
is the mass of an object in water and
p
w
is the density of water.

But the volume of the water is equal to the
volume of the object, so

V
w
= V
o
=

Therefore, the density of the object is

P
o
=

=

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

P
o =
()
()
P
w

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:

SG
S
=

Where SG
s
is the specific gravity of a substance,
P
S
is the density of the substance and p
w
is the
density of water.

III. Methodology

A. Setup

Fig. 1 Experimental Setup 1

Fig. 2 Experimental Setup 2

Fig. 3 Experimental Setup 3

B. Materials

1 digital balance
1 hydromete
1 set of weights
2 pieces of a 250-ml graduated cylinder
2 pieces of a 250-ml beaker
piece of cork, a meter of string
2 pieces of metal specimen.

C. Procedure

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. (See figure 1).

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 (W
A
).

Afterwards, we submerge the sample completely
in a beaker of water and measure its weight
while it is in water (W
w
). We computed for the
loss of weight of the sample using (eq. 3).
Additionally, the specific gravity is also
determined using the equation: G = W
A
/ W
A-
W
w
.
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 aluminium. Moving on to the second part,
which is the determination of the specific gravity
of an unknown liquid sample.
We choose the aluminium 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 = W
A
-W
L
/ W
A
-W
W
. 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, W
CA-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 = W
A
/ W
CA-SW
- W
(S+C)w
.

IV. Results and Discussion

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.

Observing the data gathered from Table 1, it
shows that the first and second metal has a
specific gravity of 8.53 and 2.729, respectively.
From the comparison of the specific gravity of
known objects, the two sample metals are brass
and aluminum. Furthermore, although the mass
of brass is greater than the mass of aluminum,
the aluminum can displaced greater amount of
water compared to brass because brass is denser
than aluminum. The same procedure was done
for the second part of the experiment but only
one metal sample was used and it was
submerged in two unknown liquid samples.

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 0.8 and 0.98,
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.

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.

The graph above perfectly illustrates the
relationship between force and displacements
direct proportionality. The line graph is going
towards the upper right of the coordinate plane
and therefore has an increasing slope.
The last part of the experiment was about the
determination of the work done on the spring
which is a pure computation.(See table 2)

V. Conclusion

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.

VI. References

 Halliday, Fundamentals of Physics, 9
th

edition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archimedes_princ
iple
http://www.brightstorm.com/science/physics
/oscillatory-motion/archimedes-principle
http://www.physics247.com/physics-
tutorial/archimedes-principle.shtml