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310 Chapter 5 Distributed Forces

Thus, the two-dimensional representation in Fig. 5/33b may be used.

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

A moment equation would now be required if we wished to establish the

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

Hydrostatic Pressure on Flat Surfaces of Any Shape

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 O C p –
O y
P P dy

(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

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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,

! y(px dy) Arizona

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.

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


(a) (b) (c)

Figure 5/35

surface, as illustrated by the irregular dashed boundary in Fig. 5/35a. If

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
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F ! !gV (5/27)

where ! is the density of the fluid, g is the acceleration due to gravity,

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

W = mg W
B W B′

(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.
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Wind-tunnel testing of a scale model can be useful in

predicting the performance of the full-size aircraft.