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Floatation and Relative Density


Floatation; relationship with density; relative density; determination of relative density of
solid; qualitative description of a hydrometer.

A Concise
Relative density : The relative density of a substance is the
ratio of the mass of any volume of it to the mass of an equal volume
of water, or
Mass of any volume of substance
R.D. = Mass of an equal volume of water
Since, the weight of a body and its mass are proportional to each
other, it is also true to say that
Weight of any volume of substance
R. D. = Weight of an equal volume of water
Being a ratio, R. D. has no units. It is simply a number. On the
other hand, density is expressed in kg/m3 (SI units) or g/cm3 (C.G.S.
units).
We can use Archimedes principle to find relative densities :
(i)
R.D. of a solid insoluble in water W1/(W1 W2)
W1 = weight of solid in air; W2 = weight of solid in water.
(ii) R. D. of a solid which floats = W1/(W2 W3)
W1 = weight of solid in air
W2 = weight of solid in air + sinker in water; W3 = weight
of (solid + sinker) in water.
(iii) R. D. of a liquid = (W1 W3)/(W1 W2)
Here W1, W2, W3 are the weights of solid in air, in water and
in the liquid respectively.
(iv) R. D. of a solid soluble in water = d w1/(W1 W2)
Here W1 and W2 are the weights of the solid in air and in a
suitable liquid and d is the R.D. of the liquid.
Centre of Buoyancy : It is a point, where the total upthrust
(buoyant force), due to fluid displaced by the immersed part of body
acts.
(i)

When the weight of a body is more than upthrust of a liquid,


the body sinks.

(ii)

When the weight of a body is equal to upthrust of a liquid,


the body just floats.

(iii) When the weight of a body is less than upthrust of a liquid,


the body floats.
Law of Floatation : When a body is floating in a fluid, then
weight of whole body acting vertically downward through C.G. is
equal to the weight of fluid displaced by the immersed part of the
body, acting vertically upward through the centre of buoyancy.
While floating, a body is weightless. Its apparent weight and
apparent density is zero.
Hydrometer : It is a device used for measuring densities
various liquids. It is based on the principle of floatation.

of

In case of hydrometer for lighter liquids (i) its buoyancy bulb is


larger (ii) its gravity bulb is lighter (iii) the density of water
is marked at the base of stem (iv) the densities of lighter liquids
are marked above the density of water.
In case of hydrometer for heavier liquids, (i) its buoyancy bulb
is smaller (ii) its gravity bulb is heavier (iii) the density of
water is marked at the top of stem (iv) the densities of heavier
liquids are marked below the density of water.
In case of hydrometer fr heavier liquids, (i) its buoyancy bulb is
smaller (ii) its gravity bulb is heavier (iii) the density of water
is marked at the top of stem (iv) the densities of heavier liquids
are marked below the density of water.
In case of lactometer, (i) the gravity bulb and buoyancy bulb are
fused (ii) the stem is of very small area of cross-section (iii) the
density of water (1 g cm3) is marked at the top of the stem (iv) the
density of milk (1.04 g cm3) is marked at the base of the stem. This
hydrometer can tell the density of milk and not its purity, which
depends upon fat content.
In case of acid-battery-hydrometer, (i) the stem is of very small
area of cross section, (ii) the lowest density of 1.15 gm cm3 is
marked near the top of the stem, (iii) the highest density of 1.30
gm cm3 is marked at the base of the stem.