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To find R by a direct integration, we need to integrate the x- and y-

components of dR along the curve AB, since dR continuously changes

direction. Thus,

Rx ! b ! ( p dL) ! b ! p dy

x and Ry ! b ! ( p dL) ! b ! p dx

y

position of R.

A second method for finding R is usually much simpler. Consider

the equilibrium of the block of liquid ABC directly above the surface,

shown in Fig. 5/33c. The resultant R then appears as the equal and

opposite reaction of the surface on the block of liquid. The resultants

of the pressures along AC and CB are Py and Px, respectively, and are

easily obtained. The weight W of the liquid block is calculated from

the area ABC of its section multiplied by the constant dimension b

and by !g. The weight W passes through the centroid of area ABC.

The equilibrant R is then determined completely from the equilib-

rium equations which we apply to the free-body diagram of the fluid

block.

Figure 5/34a shows a flat plate of any shape submerged in a liq-

uid. The horizontal surface of the liquid is the plane x-y!, and the

plane of the plate makes an angle " with the vertical. The force acting

on a differential strip of area dA parallel to the surface of the liquid

is dR ! p dA ! !gh dA. The pressure p has the same magnitude

throughout the length of the strip, because there is no change of

θ θ

y′ y

p= – y′

ρ gh h h x

x y x

R

dA

R O C p –

O y

––

Y

P P dy

A

(a) (b)

Figure 5/34

Article 5/9 Fluid Statics 311

depth along the strip. We obtain the total force acting on the exposed

area A by integration, which gives

R! ! dR ! ! p dA ! !g ! h dA

Substituting the centroidal relation hA ! " h dA gives us

R ! !ghA (5/25)

The quantity !gh is the pressure which exists at the depth of the cen-

troid O of the area and is the average pressure over the area.

We may also represent the resultant R geometrically by the volume

V! of the figure shown in Fig. 5/34b. Here the fluid pressure p is repre-

sented as a dimension normal to the plate regarded as a base. We see

that the resulting volume is a truncated right cylinder. The force dR

acting on the differential area dA ! x dy is represented by the elemental

volume p dA shown by the shaded slice, and the total force is repre-

sented by the total volume of the cylinder. We see from Eq. 5/25 that the

average altitude of the truncated cylinder is the average pressure !gh

which exists at a depth corresponding to the centroid O of the area ex-

posed to pressure.

For problems where the centroid O or the volume V! is not readily

apparent, a direct integration may be performed to obtain R. Thus,

R! ! dR ! ! p dA ! ! !ghx dy

where the depth h and the length x of the horizontal strip of differential

area must be expressed in terms of y to carry out the integration.

After the resultant is obtained, we must determine its location.

Using the principle of moments with the x-axis of Fig. 5/34b as the mo-

ment axis, we obtain

Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell,

RY ! ! y dR or Y! (5/26)

! px dy

This second relation satisfies the definition of the coordinate Y to the

centroid of the volume V! of the pressure-area truncated cylinder. We

conclude, therefore, that the resultant R passes through the centroid C

of the volume described by the plate area as base and the linearly vary-

ing pressure as the perpendicular coordinate. The point P at which R is

applied to the plate is the center of pressure. Note that the center of

pressure P and the centroid O of the plate area are not the same.

Buoyancy

Archimedes is credited with discovering the principle of buoyancy.

This principle is easily explained for any fluid, gaseous or liquid, in equi-

librium. Consider a portion of the fluid defined by an imaginary closed

312 Chapter 5 Distributed Forces

mg

Figure 5/35

the body of the fluid could be sucked out from within the closed cavity

and replaced simultaneously by the forces which it exerted on the

boundary of the cavity, Fig. 5/35b, the equilibrium of the surrounding

fluid would not be disturbed. Furthermore, a free-body diagram of the

fluid portion before removal, Fig. 5/35c, shows that the resultant of the

pressure forces distributed over its surface must be equal and opposite

to its weight mg and must pass through the center of mass of the fluid

element. If we replace the fluid element by a body of the same dimen-

sions, the surface forces acting on the body held in this position will be

identical to those acting on the fluid element. Thus, the resultant force

exerted on the surface of an object immersed in a fluid is equal and op-

posite to the weight of fluid displaced and passes through the center of

mass of the displaced fluid. This resultant force is called the force of

buoyancy

© John Lambert TIPS RF/Stockphotopro, Inc.

F ! !gV (5/27)

and V is the volume of the fluid displaced. In the case of a liquid whose

density is constant, the center of mass of the displaced liquid coincides

with the centroid of the displaced volume.

Thus when the density of an object is less than the density of the

fluid in which it is fully immersed, there is an imbalance of force in the

vertical direction, and the object rises. When the immersing fluid is a

liquid, the object continues to rise until it comes to the surface of the liq-

The designers of high-performance uid and then comes to rest in an equilibrium position, assuming that the

sailboats must consider both air- density of the new fluid above the surface is less than the density of the

pressure distributions on the sails object. In the case of the surface boundary between a liquid and a gas,

and water-pressure distributions

such as water and air, the effect of the gas pressure on that portion of

on the hull.

the floating object above the liquid is balanced by the added pressure in

the liquid due to the action of the gas on its surface.

An important problem involving buoyancy is the determination of

the stability of a floating object, such as a ship hull shown in cross sec-

tion in an upright position in Fig. 5/36a. Point B is the centroid of the

displaced volume and is called the center of buoyancy. The resultant of

the forces exerted on the hull by the water pressure is the buoyancy

force F which passes through B and is equal and opposite to the weight

W of the ship. If the ship is caused to list through an angle ", Fig. 5/36b,

Article 5/9 Fluid Statics 313

M

h

G

G G M

W = mg W

B′

B W B′

F

(a) F (b) F (c)

Figure 5/36

the shape of the displaced volume changes, and the center of buoyancy

shifts to B!.

The point of intersection of the vertical line through B! with the

centerline of the ship is called the metacenter M, and the distance h of M

from the center of mass G is called the metacentric height. For most hull

shapes h remains practically constant for angles of list up to about 20!.

When M is above G, as in Fig. 5/36b, there is a righting moment which

tends to bring the ship back to its upright position. If M is below G, as

for the hull of Fig. 5/36c, the moment accompanying the list is in the di-

rection to increase the list. This is clearly a condition of instability and

must be avoided in the design of any ship.

© Stocktrek Images, Inc.

predicting the performance of the full-size aircraft.

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