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Archimedes principle

Archimedes' principle states that a body immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. The principle applies to both floating and submerged bodies and to all fluids, i.e., liquids and gases. It explains not only the buoyancy of ships and other vessels in water but also the rise of a balloon in the air and the apparent loss of weight of objects underwater. In determining whether a given body will float in a given fluid, both weight and volume must be considered; that is, the relative density , or weight per unit of volume, of the body compared to the fluid determines the buoyant force. If the body is less dense than the fluid, it will float or, in the case of a balloon, it will rise. If the body is denser than the fluid, it will sink. Relative density also determines the proportion of a floating body that will be submerged in a fluid. If the body is two thirds as dense as the fluid, then two thirds of its volume will be submerged, displacing in the process a volume of fluid whose weight is equal to the entire weight of the body. In the case of a submerged body, the apparent weight of the body is equal to its weight in air less the weight of an equal volume of fluid. The fluid most often encountered in applications of Archimedes' principle is water, and the specific gravity of a substance is a convenient measure of its relative density compared to water. In calculating the buoyant force on a body, however, one must also take into account the shape and position of the body. A steel rowboat placed on end into the water will sink because the density of steel is much greater than that of water. However, in its normal, keel-down position, the effective volume of the boat includes all the air inside it, so that its average density is then less than that of water, and as a result it will float.


1. Floating of Ships
An iron nail sinks in water. Due to its small volume, the upthrust which is equal to the weight of water displaced is less than the weight of the nail, and therefore it sinks. Moreover, the density of the nail is more than the density of water and therefore it sinks. A ship is also made of iron but it floats. This is because the bottom of the ship is built in the form of a large shell, or hull as it is called. It is therefore able to displace a volume of water the weight of which is equal to its own weight, causing it to float. Moreover, due to the large air spaces inside the ship which is included in its volume the density for the ship becomes less than the density of water, due to which it floats.

2. Submarines
A submarine can be made to float, dive or surface. It floats when its weight is equal to the weight of the water displaced by it. To make it dive, water is pumped into is ballast tanks so that its weight becomes more than the weight of the water it displaces. To make it rise, compressed air is used to force the water out of the ballast tanks into the sea until is weight becomes less than that if the water displaced.

3. Airships and Balloons

A gas less dense than air e.g. hydrogen or helium is called into the balloon. As the gas is being filled, the size of the balloon increases. More and more air is displaced and therefore the upthrust on the balloon keeps increasing. After some time, the weight of the air displaced becomes more than the weight of the balloon and the gas inside. Thus, the upthrust us greater than the downthrust and the balloon rises.

How do you express Archimedes' principle in a form usable by a simulation? This formula expresses the net force acting on a body immersed within a fluid with constant density:

Here, gravity, body.

is the mass of the body, is the acceleration caused by is the density of the fluid, and is the volume of the

If the body is only partially submerged, then is the volume of the portion of the body submerged, as Figure 1 shows.

Figure 1. Buoyancy of a partially submerged body

Mass of Fluid Displaced for a Fluid with Variable Density Although the formula above works fine for a body fully submerged in a fluid with constant density, it needs modification for a body eitherpartially submerged or (equivalently) submerged in a fluid with varying density. In that case, you effectively need to subdivide the fluid mass displaced into multiple terms as follows:

In the limit of continuous density variation, the sum above would become an integral. But a computer simulation would have to discretize that integral, so leave it as a sum. Figure 2 depicts a case in which the fluid has two different density values.

Figure 2. Buoyancy of a body immersed in a fluid with two different densities