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# Fluid Mechanics

## 3 HYDROSTATIC FORCES ON IMMERSED

SURFACE
3.1 Geometrical Properties of an Area
3.1.1

## Consider an area A as shown below, in which A denotes an area element.

The sum of all the area elements over the entire area gives the area A.
y
x
x

dA
C

y
y
x

Thus

A
or

= (A)
= dA

The first moment of the element A with respect to the y-axis is xA. The
sum of the first moment of each element over the entire area, (xA),
represents the first moment of the area A with respect to the y-axis. This
sum must be equal to x A, where x defines the location of the centroid of
the area.
Therefore

&

where

= (xA)
= xdA
= 1st moment of area about y-axis
y A = (yA)
= ydA
= 1st moment of area about x-axis
xA

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Fluid Mechanics

3.1.2

## Area Moment of Inertia

For the differential area element dA (i.e. A) in the area as shown in 3.1.1,
the differential moment of the element with respect to an axis is equal to
the second moment of the area with respect to the axis. That is, it is the
product of the area of the element and the square of its perpendicular
distance to the axis.
Thus

dIx = y2dA
and dIy = x2dA

Hence the moment of inertia of the whole area with respect to the axes is
Ix

= y2dA

and

= x2dA

Iy

Worked example:
A rectangle of width b and height h is shown in the following figure. The
x-axis is the horizontal centroidal axis. A horizontal differential strip dA is
chosen as shown.
y
dA

h/2

dy
y

h/2
b

Since all points of the strip are at the same distance from the x-axis, the
moment of inertia of dA with respect to the x-axis is
dIx = y2dA = y2(bdy)

Ix

= dI x
A

y
= h2 by 2 dy = b
2
3 h 2

bh 3
=
12

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Fluid Mechanics

3.1.3

y
dA

y
x

C
d

## The moment of inertia of an area with respect to a non-centroidal axis may

be expressed in terms of the moment of inertia with respect to a parallel
centroidal axis.
Ix

= (y + d)2dA
= (y2 + 2yd + d2) dA
= y2dA + 2d ydA + d2 dA

It is seen that the first integral represents moment of inertia Ix about the
centroidal axis x. The second integral is zero, since ydA = Ay, but y is
zero with respect to the centroidal x-axis. The third integral is simply Ad2.
Thus the expression for Ix becomes
Ix

Thus parallel-axis theorem states that the moment of inertia of an area with
respect to a non-centroidal axis is equal to the moment of inertial of the
area with respect to the parallel centroidal axis plus the product of the area
and the square of the distance between the two axes.
Hence evaluate the Ix of a rectangle about the base and verify it with the
parallel axis theorem.

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Fluid Mechanics

Shape

Area, A

Inertia, Ix

bd

bd 3
12

bh
2

bh 3
36

Rectangle
d
x

x
d/2

Triangle
h
x
h/3

x
b

Circle
r 2 or

r
x

d 2
4

r 4
d 4
or
4
64

P.3-4

Fluid Mechanics

## An informative and useful graphical interpretation can be made for the

force developed by a fluid acting on a plane area. Consider the pressure
distribution along a vertical wall of a tank of width b, which contains a
liquid having a specific weight . Since the pressure must vary linearly
with depth (as p = h), we can represent the variation as shown in the
figure below, where the pressure is equal to zero at the upper surface and
equal to h at the bottom.

p
F

p
F

h/3
h

h
CP
b

The pressure distribution showed above applies across the vertical surface
so we can draw the three-dimensional representation of the pressure
distribution (see above). The base of this volume in pressure area space
is the plane surface of interest, and its altitude at each point is the pressure.
This volume is called the pressure prism, and it is clear that the magnitude
of the resultant force acting on the surface is equal to the volume of the
pressure prism.
FR = volume = 1/2 (h)(bh) = (h/2)A
where bh is the area of the rectangular surface, A.
The resultant force must pass through the centroid of the pressure prism.
For the volume under consideration the centroid is located along the
vertical axis of symmetry of the surface, and at a distance of h/3 above the
base.

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Fluid Mechanics

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

This same graphical approach can be used for plane surfaces that do not
extend up the fluid surface as shown in the figure below.

h1

h1
h2

F1

F
F2

h2

## In this instance, the cross-section of the pressure prism is trapezoidal.

However, the resultant force is still equal in magnitude to the volume of
the pressure prism, and it passes through the centroid of the volume.
For inclined plane surfaces the pressure prism can still be developed, and
the cross section of the prism will generally be trapezoidal as shown in
above. Although it is usually convenient to measure distances along the
inclined surface, the pressures developed depend on the vertical distances.

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Fluid Mechanics

## In chapter 1, it is shown that due to the absence of shear forces in a static

liquid, all pressures and forces must act at right angles to the surfaces with
which the liquid is in contact.
The diagram below shows a plane of general shape immersed at any depth.
The objective is to find the resultant force on one side of the plane, FR and
the depth at which its line of action intersects the plane, CP , i.e. the depth
of the centre of pressure.

h
CP

dA
centre of area
centre of pressure

FR
FR

FR = yA

## and the total force on the plane, FR

= FR
= A ydA

FR = A ydA
= * 1st moment of area about S-axis (i.e. water surface)
= * Ah

## Assuming FR acts at a depth CP below S-axis,

FR * CP = (FR)y
= A y 2 dA
= A y 2 dA
= * 2nd moment of area about S-axis

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Fluid Mechanics

## 2nd moment of area about S

1st moment of area about S
I
= S
Ah

CP =

Use the Parallel Axis Theorem and let Ix be the 2nd moment of area of the
plane surface about an axis X-X, passing through its centre of area and
parallel to x-axis.
2

= Ix + A h , and
I
CP = x + h
Ah

IS

Notice that since Ix, A and h are all positive, then CP is always greater
than h , i.e. the centre of pressure must always be at a greater depth than
the centre of area.
The majority of problems arising from liquid pressure are concerned with
the necessary forces or moments which must be applied to balance the
liquid forces. They are therefore problems of static equilibrium in which
the first step is to calculate the values of FR and CP . The second step is to
apply the conditions of static equilibrium,
i.e.

Fv = 0,
FH = 0 and
M = 0.

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Fluid Mechanics

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

Worked example:

2.1m
water

A
2.1m

F1
F2

1.2m

T
o

The gate OA closes an opening 2.1 m deep and 1.6 m wide. What torque
must be applied at O to keep the gate closed?
Considering the left hand side,
= 9.81 kN/m3
A1 = 2.1 m * 1.6 m
h 1 = 2.1 + 2.1/2 m

F1

= 3.36 m2
= 3.15 m

= A1 h 1
= 9.81 * 3.36 * 3.15 kN
= 103.83 kN

## Ix1 = bd3/12 = 1.6 * 2.13 / 12 m4

= 1.23 m4

CP 1 =

1.23
+ 3.15
3.36 * 3.15

= 3.27 m
Similarly for right hand side,
A2 = 1.2 m * 1.6 m
h 2 = 1/2 * 1.2 m

= 1.92 m2
= 0.6 m

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Fluid Mechanics

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

F2

= A2 h 2
= 9.81 * 1.92 * 0.6 kN
= 11.3 kN

CP 2 = 2 3 d2 = 2 3 * 1.2 m
= 0.8 m
Hence

F1 acts at
F2 acts at

## 4.2 3.27 m = 0.93 m from O

1.2 0.8 m = 0.4 m from O

F1 = 103.8 kN
F2 = 11.3 kN

0.93m

0.4m
o
T

For equilibrium,

M = 0

T = 92 kNm

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Fluid Mechanics

## 3.4 Hydrostatic Force on an Inclined Plane

For the more general case in which a submerged plane surface is inclined,
the determination of the resultant force acting on the surface is more
involved.
Let the plane in which the surface lies intersect the free surface at 0 and
make an angle with this surface. The x-y co-ordinate system is defined
so that 0 is the origin and y is directed along the surface as shown.

y
dF

y
yCP

dA
centre of area
centre of pressure

## At any given depth, h, the force acting on dA is

dF = h dA
and is perpendicular to the surface.
Thus, the magnitude of the resultant force can be found by summing these
differential forces over the entire surface. In equation form
FR = h dA = ysin dA
For constant and

where h = ysin.

FR = sin y dA
y dA

= ycA
= 1st moment of area about x-axis

## where yc is the y co-ordinate of the centroid measured from the x-axis

which passes through 0.

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Fluid Mechanics

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

FR = Ayc sin
= A h

or more simply as

where h is the vertical distance from the fluid surface to the centroid of
the area.
Note that the magnitude of the force is independent of the angle and
depends only on the specific weight of the fluid, the total area, and the
depth of the centroid of the area below the surface. The resultant FR must
also be perpendicular to the surface.
The y co-ordinate of the resultant force can be determined by summation
of moments around the x-axis. That is, the moment of the resultant force
must equal to the moment of the distributed pressure force.
= y dFR
= sin y2 dA
= sin y2 dA
= sin IS

FRyR

Since

FR = A h
yR =

therefore

A h *

CP
sin

and

CP
sin

= sin IS

## By parallel axis theorem,

IS

Hence

= Ix + Ayc2
= Ix + A h 2/ sin2

sin 2 I S
CP =
A h
I x sin 2
+h
=
Ah

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Fluid Mechanics

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

Worked examples:

1.

A sliding gate is used to close a culvert. The size of the gate is 1.5 m
* 1.5 m. The summit of the culvert is 4 m below the water surface as
shown below.

4m to water surface
grooves

culvert (empty)

1.5 m
400 kg

The coefficient of friction between the gate and the grooves in which it
slides is 0.5, and the gate has a mass of 400 kg. Find the force required to
open the gate assuming the culvert to be empty.
Area of the gate, A

## Height of the culvert

= 1.5 * sin
= 1.5 * 1

= 0.67 m

= 4 + * 0.67 m
= 4.335 m

= A h
= 9.81 * 2.25 * 4.335 kN
= 95.7 kN

## The component of the gate self weight normal to the gate

kN
= 400 * 9.81 / 1000 * 2
5

= 3.5 kN

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Fluid Mechanics

= 99.2 kN
Since

frictional force

=*R
= 0.5 * 99.2 kN
= 49.61 kN

## Component of the gate self weight along the slope

kN
= 400 * 9.81 / 1000 * 1
5

= 1.75 kN
Hence

## force required to open the gate

= 49.61 + 1.75 kN
= 51.36 kN

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Fluid Mechanics

2.

## Chapter 3 Hydrostatic Forces

A culvert draws off water from the base of a reservoir the sides of
which are inclined at 80 to the horizontal. The culvert is closed by a
circular gate 1.25 m in diameter which can be rotated about its
horizontal diameter. Show that the turning moment on the gate is
independent of the depth of the water if the gate is completely
immersed and find the value of this moment.

A
h

= kN/m3
= d2/4 m2
=h
m
h

= A h

I G sin
+h
Ah
2

CP =

80

## Take moment about the hinge,

Lever arm of F, l = (CP - h )/sin80
I G sin
=
Ah
Moment induced = F*l

I G sin
= A h *
Ah
= *IG*sin (independent of depth)

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Fluid Mechanics

## Class Exercise 3.1:

A vertical gate is rectangular in shape with width, b and height h. The top
of the gate is level with the surface of the water, where it is supported by a
frictionless hinge H. A weight W hangs to the gate as shown below. The
bottom of the gate rests against a stop. Atmospheric pressure acts
everywhere. By neglecting the weight of the gate and the arm, determine
the minimum weight W required to keep the gate close.
hinge
a
h
h/2

1 3
h b )
3a

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Fluid Mechanics

## A rectangular gate AB is hinged at A as shown. The gate is 2 m wide and

1.5 m long. Calculate
(1) the resultant force FR of the water on the gate AB and
(2) the force FB acting at point B to hold the gate closed.
FB

3m
o

25

water

1.5m
B

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Fluid Mechanics

## A cylindrical tank 2 m diameter and 4 m long, with its axis horizontal, is

half filled with water and half filled with oil of density 880 kg m-3.
Determine the magnitude and position of the net hydrostatic force on one
end of the tank.
from the bounding diameter,
Given: Centroid of a semi-circle = 2 D
I of a semi-circle

3
D
8
( )4

2 8 9

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Fluid Mechanics

## Tutorial: Fluid Forces on Immersed Surface

1.

Find the value of h for which the gate in the conduit will just open.

30 kPa
water
h
air

1.2m

gate

2.

## end view of the gate

The gate in the figure below is hinged at point B, and rests against a
smooth wall at A. By considering per metre width of the gate,
compute the fluid force on the gate due to seawater (density of
seawater = 1025 kg/m3) pressure and the horizontal reaction P exerted
by the wall at point A.

seawater
A

3.5m

air

1.5m

B
2m

3.

## An L-shape gate shown in the diagram is pinned at O. Find the height

of the free surface, h, at which the gate will start to rotate. The weight
of the gate can be neglected.
h
0
1.5m

END

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