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Any Body immersed in a fluid is subjected to a buoyant force equal to the weight of the

fluid displaced.

BF = W

The buoyant force is essentially caused by difference between the pressure at the top of

the object, which pushes it downward, and the pressure at the bottom, which pushes it

upward.

Since the pressure at the bottom is always greater than at the top, every object

submerged in a fluid necessarily feels an upward buoyant force. Of course, objects also

feel a downward force due to gravity, and the difference between the gravitational force

and buoyant force on a submerged object determines whether that object will sink, or rise

to the surface. If the weight is greater than the buoyant force, the object sinks, and vice

versa.

If the weight of an object is greater than the weight of displaced fluid, it will sink, wherease

if the weight of the object is less than the weight of displaced fluid, it will rise. Moreover, it

is evident that the volume of displaced fluid is precisely equal to the volume of the

submerged part of the object, so that the difference between the buoyant force and the

weight is determined by the relative density of the object and the fluid. In particular, we

come to Archimedes principle, which implies that,

An object will sink in a liquid if its density is greater than the fluids density

and will float if its density is smaller.

BF = F(up) F(down)

BF = Pbottom(A) Ptop(A)

BF

BF

BF

BF

BF

BF

=

=

=

=

=

=

ghbottom(A) - ghtop(A)

gA(hbottom htop)

gA(h)

g(V)

m(g)

W

It is rumored that the Greek philosopher and scientist Archimedes, around 250 B.C., was asked by King Hiero II to help

with a problem. King Hiero II had ordered a fancy golden crown from a goldsmith. However, the king was concerned that

the goldsmith may have taken his money and mixed some silver in with the crown instead of crafting the crown out of pure

gold. He asked Archimedes if there was a way to determine if the crown was pure gold.

Archimedes puzzled over the problem for some time, coming up with the solution while he was in the bath tub one

evening. When Archimedes submerged himself in the tub, he noticed that the amount of water that spilled over the rim of

the tub was equal to the volume of water he displaced.

Using this method, he could place the crown in a bowl full of water. The amount of water that spilled over could be

measured and used to tell the volume of the crown. By then dividing the mass of the crown by the volume, he could obtain

the density of the crown, and compare the density to that of gold, determining if the crown was pure gold. According to

legend, he was so excited he popped out of the tub and ran through the streets naked yelling Eureka! Eureka! (Greek for

I found it! I found it!)

True story or not, this amusing tale illustrates Archimedes development of a key principle of buoyancy: the buoyant force

(FB) on an object is equal to the density of the fluid, multiplied by the volume of the fluid displaced (which is also equal to

the volume of the submerged portion of the object), multiplied by the gravitational field strength. This is known

as Archimedes Principle.

Examples:

1.) A standard basketball (mass = 624 grams; 24.3 cm in diameter) is held fully under water. Calculate the

buoyant force and weight. When released, does the ball sink to the bottom or float to the surface? If it floats,

what percentage of it is sticking out of the water? If it sinks, what is the normal force, F N with which it sits on

the bottom of the pool?

SOLUTION

The weight of the ball is

W = mg = 0.624kg (9.81) = 6.121 N

To calculate the buoyancy, we need the volume of displaced water, which is the volume of the ball because it is being

held completely submerged.

V(ball) = (4/3)r = (4/3) (.243/2) = 0.00751m

The buoyant force is equal to the weight of that volume of water.

BF = fluidVg = 1000(0.00751)(9.81) = 73.673 N

That's a lot stronger than the 6.121 N downward pull of gravity, so the ball will rise to the surface when released. The

density of the ball is

which is 8.3% the density of water. The ball will therefore be floating with 8.3% of its volume below the level of the

surface, and 91.7% sticking out of the water.

2.) A piece of irregularly shaped metal weighs 300 N in air. When submerged in water it weighs 235.5KN. Find the volume

of the metal.

SOLUTION:

BF

=

W

300N 235.5N =

(1000kg/m)(9.81m/s)(V)

V

=

(300-235.5)/(1000)(9.81)

V

=

0.00657m

V

=

6570cm

3.) A certain crown in air was found to be 14.0 N and its weight in water is 12.7 N.

Was it gold(s.g. = 19.3)?

SOLUTION:

BF

14.0 12.7 =

1. 3

V

V

crown

crown

=

gV

=

=

=

W

(1000kg/m)(9.81m/s)(V)

1.3/(1000kg/m)(9.81m/s)

.000133m

= 14/.000133m

= 105.65KN/m

s.g. of crown =

s.g.of crown =

105.65KN/m/9.81KN/m

10.77, thus the crown is no gold.

ASSIGNMENT/PROBLEM SET 1:

1.) A cube o timber 1.25ft on each side floats in water as shown in the figure. The specific gravity of the timber is

0.60. Find the submerged depth of the cube.

2.) A stone weighs 105 lbs. in air. When submerged in water, it weighs 67.0 lbs.

Find

a.) Volume of the stone

b.) Specific Gravity of the stone

3.) What fraction of the olume of a solid piece of metal of s.g. = 7.25 floats above the container of mercury?

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