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The design of many engineering systems such as water dams and liquid storage tanks requires the determination of the forces acting on the surfaces using fluid statics. The complete description of the resultant hydrostatic force acting on a submerged surface requires the determination of its magnitude, its point of application or its direction, and the line of action of the force.

2.7 Hydrostatic Forces On Submerged Plane Surfaces When a surface such as a gate valve in a dam, the wall of a liquid storage tank, or the hull of a ship is submerged in a fluid, forces develope on the surface due to the fluid pressure. For fluids at rest we know that the force must be perpendicular to the surface since there are no shearing stresses present. We also know that the pressure will vary linearly with depth if the fluid is incompressible. Fig. 2.18 below shows the hydrostatics pressure distribution on the submerged tilted, vertical and horizontal plates.

Fig. 2.18 : Hydrostatic force distribution on the submerged plates. In most cases, the other side of the plate is open to the atmosphere (such as the dry side of a gate), and thus atmospheric pressure acts on both sides of the plate, yielding a zero resultant. In such cases, it is convenient to subtract atmospheric pressure and work with the gauge pressure only. On a plane surface, we often need to determine the magnitude of the resultant force and its point of application, which is called the center of pressure.

. p = uniform pressure on the bottom A = area of the bottom Fig.7.A where . the magnitude of the resultant force is simply FR =pA =ρgh. 2.2.1 Hydrostatic Forces Acting On Horizontal Submerged Plane Surfaces For the horizontal surface. such as the bottom surface of a tank as shown in Fig.19. the resultant force acts through the centroid of the area.19 : Pressure distribution on the bottom horizontal surface of tank Since the pressure is constant and uniformly distributed over the bottom. 2.

. Fig E2.13 Solution : FR = p ⋅ A = ρgh A = (1000)(9.acting through the centroid of plate AB To be continued at Example 2.14… .. Find the hydrostatic force acting on the plate AB.81)(7)(2 × 3) = 412 kN ..# Example 2.13 : Hydrostatic Force on the Horizontal Plane The rigid L-shaped gate OAB is 3 m width and hinged at O and rests against a rigid support at B.

Thus. as is illustrated in Fig. Fig.7. the force acting on dA is dF = γh. Now. Let the plane in which the surface lies intersect the free surface at O and make an angle θ with this surface.2. the determination of the resultant force acting on the surface is more involved.20 : Arbitrary shape plane submerged in liquid For the present we will assume that the fluid surface is open to the atmosphere. and magnitude of the resultant force acting on one side of this area due to the liquid in contact with the area. The area can have an arbitrary shape as shown. The x–y coordinate system is defined so that 0 is the origin and y is directed along the surface as shown. 2.2 Hydrostatic Forces Acting On Vertical and Inclined Submerged Plane Surfaces For the more general cases in which a submerged plane surface is inclined.dA and is acting perpendicular to the surface. At any given depth. 2. the magnitude of the . h. we wish to determine the direction.20. location.

hc = vertical distance from free surface to the centroid of the area. . the equation indicates that the magnitude of the resultant force is equal to the pressure at the centroid of the area multiplied by the total area. the location where this FR is acting on also has to be determined. FR = γhc A = ρghc A where . hR or hcp or inclined distance from free surface. FR = ∫A γh.dA with h = y sinθ = ∫A γy sinθdA = γ sinθ ∫A ydA The integral of ∫ ydA is the first moment of the area with respect to the x axis or∫ ydA = ycA. and the depth of the centroid of the area below the surface. the total area. The location of CP normally is described in terms of vertical distance from free surface.y c A = γy c sinθ . FR = γ sinθ .resultant force can be found by summing these differential forces over the entire surface. A Or more simply as. This point or location is called as center of pressure. so we can write. Since all the differential forces that were summed to obtain are perpendicular to the surface. the resultant must also be perpendicular to the surface. In equation form. In effect. Note that the magnitude of the force is independent of the angle and depends only on the specific weight of the fluid. yR (or sometimes also known as ycp). CP. Besides the magnitude of resultant force.

our intuition might suggest that the resultant force should pass through the centroid of the area. Ix). yR = I xc + yc yc A Or. or FR y R = ∫A ydF FR y R = ∫A γ sinθy 2dA Thus. ∫A y2 dA is the second moment of the area (moment of inertia. we can write. yR ∫ γ sinθy = A FR 2 dA ∫ γ sinθy = A 2 dA γAy c sinθ ∫y = A 2 dA yc A But. yR = Ix yc A with I x = I xc + Ay c 2 where Ixc is the second moment of the area with respect to an axis passing through its centroid and parallel to the x axis. The yR can be determined by summing the moments around the x axis. with respect to an axis formed by the intersection of the plane containing the surface and the free surface (x axis).A. That is. this is not actually the case. the moment of the resultant force must equal the moment of the distributed pressure force. Thus. hcp @ hR I xc sin2 θ hR = + hc since yR= hR/sin θ and yc = hc/sin θ hc A .Note : From the equation FR = ρghc. in vertical distance. Thus.

Fig.21 shows the Ixc properties of some common shape. .21 : Geometric properties of some common shapes. Fig. since Ixc/yc A > 0. 2. 2.Both result shows that the resultant force does not pass through the centroid but is always below the centroid.

0. follow all steps 1 to 7. Determine yc as the inclined distance from the level of the free surface down to the centroid of the area. Note that hc and yc are related by hc = yc sin θ. 4. 3. 5. • Step 8 and 9 – required if problem involved solving using ∑M=0. Calculate the resultant force from FR = γhc A = ρghc A 6. follow steps 2. 3. . This is the distance from 0 to the centroid. Calculate other force magnitude if required using ∑M=0 for equilibrium. Determine the location of cp by calculating the yR from (i) y cp or y R = I xc + yc yc A * Or hR for vertical plane cases which is using the equation of (ii) I xc sin2 θ hcp or hR = + hc hc A 8. the moment of inertia of the area about its centroidal-x axis. Then calculate the Ixc. Identify the point where the angle of inclination of the area of interest intersects the level of free surface of the fluid. 6 and 7 (ii). • For vertical plane case. Determine hc as the vertical distance from the level of the free surface down to the centroid of the area. Call this point as origin. Note : • For inclined plane case. 9. 2.Procedure for computing the hydrostatic force on a submerged plane area 1. Sketch the FR acting on the cp. 7. Locate the centroid of the area from its geometry. 5. This may require the extension of the angled surface or the fluid surface line. perpendicular to the area (or the whole free body diagram if necessary).

OAB. Fig E2. determination of the resultant force FR(OA) which acting on the plate OA.14 is hinged at O and rests against a rigid support at B. P. For plate OA. i. E2. Solution : iii. From Eg.14 In this case. of Fig.13. we should decompose the force analysis of L gate into two parts: determination the resultant force FR(AB) which acting on plate AB.# Example 2. FR(OB) acting on plate AB has been calculating which is equal to 412 Kn. What minimum horizontal force. E2. is required to hold the gate closed if its width is 3 m? Neglect the weight of the gate and friction in the hinge. . The back of the gate is exposed to the atmosphere. iv. ii.14 : Hydrostatic Force on the Vertical Plane The rigid L-shaped gate.

for equilibrium. ∑ M hinge = 0 FR (OA ) (5.FR (OA ) = pc ⋅ A = ρghc A = (1000 )(9.27 − 3) + FR ( ) (1) = P ( 4) 588600(2.A 16 (5)(4 × 3) = 5.27) + 412000(1) = 4P AB ∴ P = 437kN .81)(5 )(4 × 3 ) = 588.27m FREE BODY DIAGRAM Refer to free body diagram above.6 kN 3 I xc bd 3 3(4 ) = = = 16 m 4 12 12 hR (OA ) = hc + = 5+ I xc h c .

67 (2)(4 × 2) = 2.67 m 4 12 12 hR gasoline = hc + 10. A rectangular gate that is 4 m high and 2 m wide and hinged at one end is located in the partition.9 kN 3 I xc = bd 3 2(4 ) = = 10.15 Solution : FR gasoline = p c ⋅ A = ρghc A = (700 )(9.67m = 2+ I xc h c .A . as shown in Fig. At what depth. will the gate start to open? Fig E2.15. E2. Water is slowly added to the empty side of the tank.81)(2 )(4 × 2 ) = 109.15 : Hydrostatic Force on the Vertical Plane An open tank has a vertical partition and on one side contains gasoline with a density 700 kg/m3 at a depth of 4 m. h.# Example 2.

FR water (h − hR water ) = FR gasoline 4 − hR gasoline 9810h 2 (h − 0.FR water = p c ⋅ A = ρghc A = 9810h 2 = (1000)(9.56m ∑ M hinge =0 ( ) .167h 3 = h/2+ (h / 2)(2h ) = 0.667h ) = 109900(4 − 2.73h 3 = 146167 ∴ h = 3.67) 3266.81)(h / 2)(h × 2) bd 3 2(h ) I xc = = = 0. A 0.667h For equilibrium.167h 3 m 4 12 12 3 hR water = hc + I xc hc .

Fig E2.3) (0.3)(0. what is the magnitude and location of the resultant force on the attached plate? The outside of the tank is at atmospheric pressure.A 0.6) = 25. A = 50 × 10 3 + (900)(9. E2.6 × 0. as is illustrated in Fig.16 Solution : FR = p c ⋅ A = (p air + ρghc ).9) and has a square.6-m by 0. 0.# Example 2. 3 + I xc h c .6) = = = 0.0108 (2.6 × 0.16 : Hydrostatic Force on the Vertical Plane A pressurized tank contains oil (SG = 0.16.6(0. When the pressure gauge on the top of the tank reads 50 kPa.0108 m 4 12 12 3 [( ) ] hR = hc + = 2.31m .6) = 2.3 kN I xx bd 3 0.81)(2.6-m plate bolted to its side.

A ( ) I xx = πR 4 4 = π (2 )4 4 = 4 m4 . The gate is mounted on a shaft along its horizontal diameter.17 is located in the inclined wall of a large reservoir containing water. For a water depth of 10 m above the shaft. The magnitude and location of resultant force FR = (1000 )(9.17 Solution : a.17 : Hydrostatic Force on the Inclined Plane The 4 m diameter circular gate of Fig. determine: (a) (b) the magnitude and location of the resultant force exerted on the gate by the water. and the moment that would have to be applied to the shaft to open the gate. Fig E2. E2.81)(10 ) π (2 ) = 1230 kN 2 FR = ρghc .# Example 2.

where the pressure is equal to zero at the upper surface and equal to γh at the bottom. which contains a liquid having a specific weight γ.A = 10 4 + sin 60 (10 / sin 60) π (2)2 = 11. The magnitude of the resultant fluid force is equal to the volume of the pressure prism and passes through the centroid. The moment that would have to be applied to the shaft to open the gate.6m ( ) b. Since the pressure must vary linearly with depth.0866 ) = 1. 2. Consider the pressure distribution along a vertical wall of a tank of width b. we can represent the variation as is shown in Fig. 2.yR = yc + I xx y c . M = FR (y R − y c ) = 1230 × 10 3 (0.07 × 10 5 Nm .22 (a). Fig. Pressure Prism The pressure prism is a graphical representation of the hydrostatic force on a plain surface.22 : The pressure prism .

and its altitude at each point is the pressure. and it is clear that the magnitude of the resultant force acting on the surface is equal to the volume of the pressure prism or. ... Or it can be proved as follows.The pressure distribution shown in Fig. The base of this “volume” in pressure-area space is the plane surface of interest.bh 2 2 = bh 2 2 γ JUST CHECK!.. FR = volume of pressure prism = 1 (γh )(bh ) = γ h .22 (a) applies across the vertical surface so we can draw the three-dimensional representation of the pressure distribution as shown in Fig. and at a distance h/3 above the base (since the centroid of a triangle is located at h/3 above its base) or 2/3h from the upper end. 2. FR = Volume of pressure prism 1 h = γbh 2 = γ × A 2 2 sin ce h = hc 2 ∴ FR = γhc A = ρghc A The resultant force must pass through the centroid of the pressure prism which is located along the vertical axis of symmetry of the surface.22 (b). 2. This volume is called the pressure prism.

In these circumstances it is more convenient to use the equations developed in the previous section. the cross section of the pressure prism is trapezoidal. In this instance. However.23. the resultant force is still equal in magnitude to the volume of the pressure trapezoidal. and it passes through the centroid of the volume. . 2. integration would generally be needed to determine the volume and centroid. This same graphical approach can be used for plane surfaces that do not extend up to the fluid surface as illustrated in Fig. for other nonrectangular shapes.hR = hc + I xc hc A h bh 3 / 12 = + 2 h / 2 × bh h h = + 2 6 2 = h 3 Note : The use of pressure prisms for determining the force on submerged plane areas is convenient if the area is rectangular so the volume and centroid can be easily determined. However.

Specific values can be obtained by decomposing the pressure prism/trapezoidal into two parts. In this instance. Thus. ABDE and BCD. The location of FR can be determined by summing moments about some convenient axis. FR = F1 + F2 where the components can readily be determined by inspection for rectangular surfaces. 2. FR y A = F1y 1 + F2 y 2 Therefore the location where the FR acts measured from point A is yA = F1y 1 + F2 y 2 FR .23 : The pressure distribution on the vertical plates located far below from the free surface. such as one passing through A.Fig.

16 using pressure prism technique.# Example 2.18 F1 = (ps + γh1 )A = [(50000) + [(0.6) = 24.4 kN ⎛h −h ⎞ F2 = γ ⎜ 2 1 ⎟ A ⎝ 2 ⎠ ⎛ 0.6 × 0.81)(2)]](0.18 : Determination of Hydrostatic Force on the Vertical Plane Using Pressure Prism Technique Solve Example 2.90 × 1000 × 9.6 × 0.81)⎜ ⎟(0.90 × 1000 × 9.6) ⎝ 2 ⎠ = 0.954 kN .6 ⎞ = (0. Solution : Fig E2.

296 = 2.3) + (0.296m (24.4 × 10 ) 3 3 Therefore the location of FR measured from free surface. FR y o = F1 (0. yo = F1 (0.296m = (25.2) FR 3 = 0.3 ) + F2 (0.2 ) So.Total hydrostatic force.6 − 0.954 = 25. hR. hR = 2.2) = 0. yo.3m .3) + F2 (0.4 kN The location of FR measured from O.4 × 10 )(0.954 × 10 )(0. FR = F1 + F2 = 24.4 + 0.

For submerged curved surface. This is done by considering the free-body diagram of the fluid volume enclosed by the curved surface of interest and the horizontal and vertical projections of this surface. the easiest way to determine the FR acting on the curved surface by separating it into the horizontal and vertical components.A + hC are developed for the magnitude and location of the resultant force acting on a submerged surface only apply to plane surfaces. 2.24 : Examples of curved or nonplanar surfaces.2. pipes. 2. as shown in Fig. Fig.many surfaces of interest (such as those associated with dams.8 Hydrostatic Forces Acting On Submerged Curved Surfaces The equations FR=ρghCA and hR =Ixc/hC.25 below. and tank) are nonplanar. However. the determination of the resultant force (FR) typically requires the integration of the pressure force that change along the curve surface. . However. FH and FV.

through the centroid of this horizontal surface where. Fx=ρgh2. . horizontal surface = the projection of the curved surface on a horizontal plane. W=ρgV 2. Fy is the hydrostatic force acting on the horizontal projection surface area.Fig. Fx is the hydrostatic force acting on the vertical projection surface area.Avertical 3.Ahorizontal Note that : vertical surface = the projection of the curved surface on a vertical plane. W is the weight of the enclosed fluid volume and acts downward through the centroid of this volume which is simply given by. through the centroid of this vertical surface where. 2.25 : Hydrostatic force on the curved surface The forces acting on this enclosed volume include : 1. FY=ρgh1.

2 2 θ = tan−1 ⎜ ⎜ ⎛ FV ⎝ FH ⎞ ⎟ ⎟ ⎠ Summary of the procedure for computing the hydrostatic force on submerged curved surface.From the Fig.Avertical . for the equilibrium. 6. Calculate FV and FH from the FBD. FR is then given by. Avertical for Fx).Ahorizontal (identify first the h1 and horizontal projection surface area. ⎜F ⎟ ⎝ H⎠ Show the resultant force acting on the curved surface in such a direction that its line of action passes through the center of curvature of the surface. 7. 3. 9. 2 2 8. Calculate the resultant force.V). 2. (identify first the h2 and vertical projection surface area. 1. Isolate the volume of fluid above/under the curved surface. A horizontal for FY). 4. Compute the Fx=ρgh2. FR = FH + FV And its direction. 2 25 (b). the force balances in the horizontal and vertical directions give. 5. Compute FY=ρgh1. FH = Fx and FV = Fy + W The magnitude of resultant force. FR from FR = FH + FV and its ⎛F ⎞ direction from θ = tan−1 ⎜ V ⎟ . . Sketch the FBD and solve problem using ∑M=0 if required*. Sketch the free body diagram (FBD) of the fluid volume and show all the forces involved with correct direction and location. Compute W=ρgV (identify first the fluid volume.

FH = Fx And where.19. E2. E2.19 (b) From the free body diagram of the fluid on the curve surface.# Example 2. E2. FV = Fy + W .19 Solution : Fig.19: Hydrostatic Force on the Curve Surface A 5 m width curved gate is located in the side of a reservoir containing water as shown in Fig. Determine the magnitude of the resultant force and its location. Fig.

FR = FH + FV = = 1653kN and 2 2 (1104)2 + (1230)2 ⎛ FV ⎝ FH ⎞ ⎛ 1230 ⎞ o ⎟ = tan −1 ⎜ ⎟ = 48 ⎟ ⎝ 1104 ⎠ ⎠ θ = tan −1 ⎜ ⎜ . FH = Fx = 1104 kN → FV = Fy + W = 883 + 347 = 1230 kN ↓ Thus.Fx = ρghAy ⎡ ⎛ 3 ⎞⎤ = (1000)(9.81)⎢6 + ⎜ ⎟⎥ (5 × 3) ⎣ ⎝ 2 ⎠⎦ = 1104 kN Fy = ρghAx = (1000)(9.81)⎢ × 5⎥ 4 ⎣ ⎦ = 347kN Therefore.81)(6)(5 × 3) = 883kN ⎛ πr 2 ⎞ W = ρg ∀ = ρg ⎜ ⎜ 4 ×l⎟ ⎟ ⎝ ⎠ ⎡ π (3 )2 ⎤ = (1000 )(9.

the gate opens by turning about the hinge at point A. FV = Fy − W Fx = ρghAy ⎡ ⎛ 0.20: Hydrostatic Force on the Curve Surface A long solid cylinder of radius 0.2 + ⎜ ⎟⎥ (0.# Example 2. FH = Fx and where.8 × 1) ⎝ 2 ⎠⎦ ⎣ = 36.20 Solution : From the free body diagram of the fluid under curve surface.8 ⎞⎤ = (1000)(9. Determine the hydrostatic force per m length of the cylinder and its line of action when the gate opens. When the water level reaches 5 m. as shown in Fig.81)⎢4. Fig.20. E2.1kN .8 m hinged at point A is used as an automatic gate. E2.

3kN and.81)(5)(0.8 × 1) = 39.2 − 1.9 kN ↓ FR = FH + FV = = 52. and Thus.9)2 ⎛ FV ⎝ FH ⎞ ⎛ 37.3 = 37.81)⎢(0.8) ⎥(1) = 4 ⎦ ⎣ = 1.2kN ⎛ πR 2 ⎞ 2 )l ⎟ W = ρg∀ = ρg ⎜ ( R − ⎜ ⎟ 4 ⎝ ⎠ 2 ⎡ ⎤ (1000)(9.3kN Therefore.Fy = ρghAx = (1000)(9.1 kN → FV = Fy − W = 39. FH = Fx = 36. 2 2 (36.8)2 − π (0.9 ⎞ o ⎟ = tan −1 ⎜ ⎟ = 46.1 ⎠ ⎠ θ = tan −1 ⎜ ⎜ .1)2 + (37.4 ⎟ ⎝ 36.

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