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rchimedes Principle Lab Report

Archimedes Principle Lab Report

This lab report is about understanding the Archimedes principle by carrying out an
experiment, which shows that the relationship between weight lost by an object when
immersed in a liquid and the weight of the displaced liquid are equal.

Archimedes principle states that the vertical force of buoyancy on a submerged
object is equal to the weight of fluid the object displaces. (Pickover, 2008) This
means that the weight of the object immersed in a liquid is reduced because of
an upward force called buoyancy. At the same time the liquid is displaced
because the immersed object takes the liquids space. The weight lost by the
object would be the same as the weight of displaced liquid. Physicists write this

B = wl
Where B is the buoyant force and wl is the weight of the liquid that the object
displaces. (Pickover, 2008)

Figure 1. Buoyancy Forces

Figure 1 shows the forces acting on the

objects as they are immersed in water.
The pink force is the buoyant force and
the blue force is the force of gravity.
According to Archimedes principle, the
pink (buoyant) forces should equal the
weight of the water that is displaced by
the object. This becomes clear as we
know that the volume of water displaced
is equal to the volume of an object that is
immersed in the water. (Britannica, 2016)

Archimedes principle has useful applications, such as calculating what will float or
checking the purity of a substance. However, it is debatable, whether Archimedes
eureka moment was because of the possibility of a large ship, which king Hiero wanted
to gift to Egypts king (D'Angour, 2015) or because of finding a way to check the purity of

King Hieros gold crown. (Eureka! The story of the Archimedes Principle, n.d.) The crown
is called corona in Latin but the keel at the bottom of the large ship was called korone in
Greek. (D'Angour, 2015) It is possible that time mixed things up. Nevertheless,
Archimedes principle was a major discovery.

Potato tied with




Figure 2. Equipment required

Water Jug


Screenshot from:


Figure 2 shows the equipment that is required for the experiment.

For this experiment, the following items were used:

spring balance
Potato tied with thread
water jug
overflow vessel
beam balance

1. The overflow vessel was filled with water until it overflowed into the beaker. The
beaker was emptied into the water jug.
2. The potato was tied to a string and weighed in air using a spring balance. The
weight in air was recorded.
3. Then the potato was completely immersed into the overflow vessel. The displaced
water went in the beaker.
4. The weight of the potato in water was measured using a spring balance.
5. The displaced water from the beaker was put into the balance beam. The weight of
the displaced water was recorded.

Table 1.Results

Weight of
potato in air

Weight of
potato in

Weight of
displaced liquid

Loss of
Force (Newton)





Table 1 shows the results of the experiment. Raw data, which was in grams, was
converted into Newton by first converting grams to kilograms, then multiplying it by
acceleration of gravity, which is 9.81ms -2. Results were rounded to 3 decimal place.
Weight lost by potato when submerged in water = (Weight of potato in air) (Weight of
potato in water)
= 1.226N - 0.128N = 1.099N
Error = (Weight lost by potato when immersed in water) (Weight of displaced liquid)
= 1.099N 1.079N = 0.020N

Column 4 in Table 1 shows the buoyant force (1.099N) and column 3 shows the weight of
the displaced liquid (1.079N). Theoretically, the forces should be equal but in a basic lab
environment, small differences are expected. This helps with the understanding of
Archimedes principle as it was mentioned that the buoyant force is equal to the weight of
displaced liquid (B = wl ).Therefore, the results of this experiment were in accordance
with the Archimedes principle, however, column five of Table 1 shows there was an error
of 0.020N. The most likely reason that contributed to this error would have been water
being left in the overflow vessel pipe and the beaker as it was transferred to the beam
balance. For better accuracy, it would be better to weigh the beaker that contained the

displaced liquid directly using an accurate scale and removing the weight of the beaker
itself. Furthermore, for increased accuracy, it should have been made sure that the eyes
were at the same level as the measurement marking. This would prevent parallax error.
While carrying out the experiment, uncertainties were not calculated. If the uncertainties
were calculated, the weight of displaced liquid would be likely to come in the range of
the weight lost by the potato, hence being in line with Archimedes principle.
In addition, water lost during the transfer could be determined by the following test:

Filling measuring cylinder with water and recording the volume of water as initial
Transferring water from the cylinder to a beaker and then back into the measuring
Recording the volume of water as final volume
Calculating the loss of water by subtracting the initial volume from the final

The experiment was successful in giving a basic understanding of the Archimedes
principle. The displaced liquid weighed 1.079N, which is nearly as much as the weight
lost by the Potato, when it was immersed in water (1.099N). The difference of 0.020N is
not significant considering the loss of water, when transferring.

Britannica, T. E. (2016, March 26). Archimedes' Principle. Retrieved from Encyclopedia
D'Angour, A. (2015). The real story behind Archimedes Eureka! Retrieved March 28,
2016, from TedEd:
Eureka! The story of the Archimedes Principle. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2016, from
KclassScienceChannel. (2013). Retrieved March 26, 2016, from YouTube:
Pickover, C. (2008). Archimedes to Hawking : Laws of Science and the Great Minds
Behind Them. Oxford University Press. Retrieved March 19, 2016