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Archimedes Principle
Chapter 3, Forces and Pressure

Expected Learning Outcomes

Student should be able to:

Explain buoyant force.

relate buoyant force to the weight of the
liquid displaced.
state Archimedes principle.
describe applications of Archimedes
solve problem involving Archimedes

Steel is denser than water.

So we might expect heavy steel ships to sink.
However, they can still float. Why?


you try to lift a heavy object under water,


find it surprising light and much

easier to lift than when it is out of the


was a Greek scientist who

first discovered that an object submerged
in a liquid is acted by an upwards buoyant
force (or upthrust).



Buoyant Force & Floatation

1. An object immersed in water is subjected to two forces, the weight

of the object which acts downwards and an upthrust or buoyant
force which acts upwards.
2. A buoyant force is a upward force resulting from an object being
wholly or partially immersed in fluid.
3. An object which has a density less than the liquid in which it is
submerged, will be subjected to buoyant force which causes the object
to float on the surface of the liquid.

4. Conversely, an object which has density greater than the liquid in

which it is submerge, will sink to the bottom as the buoyant force is
not sufficiently strong enough to support the weight of the object.

When an object is immersed in a fluid, the object

will displace a certain volume of the fluid.

Archimedes Principle
Figure shows an object
attached to a spring balance.
The weight of the object in air,
W1 is greater than its weight
when immersed in water, W2.
The different in weight is due
to an upward buoyant force
acting on an object by the water

Consider the weight of an object in an air as its actual

weight and the measured when the object is immersed in
a fluid is its apparent weight.


Buoyant force = Actual weight, W1 Apparent weight, W2

(a) In air, a load of mass 6 kg has a actual weight, W1 = ____________
(reading on spring balanced)
(b) When the object is fully immersed in water, the reading on the
spring balance, W2 = __________________ ( apparent weight)
(c) Upthrust ( buoyant force) is equal to the apparent _____________in
(d) Buoyant force / Upthrust = Apparent loss in weight
= Actual weight apparent weight
= _______________N

Archimedes Principle states that for a body immersed completely

or partially in a fluid, the upwards buoyant force acting on the
body is equal to the weight of the fluid it displaces.

Displaced water


shows a rectangular block

submerged in a liquid of density, The
pressure of the liquid on the under side of
the block, P2, is greater than the pressure
on the upper side of the block.
Resultant Force = Buoyant force
= F2 F1
= mg
= weight of liquid displaced

Activity: To investigate the relationship

between buoyant force on an object and the
weight of liquid displaced.

Apparatus / Materials:

Eureka can, a piece of stone, beaker, thread, spring

balance and triple-beam balance.

Arrangement of apparatus


1. The Eureka can is placed on a table and a beaker is placed below the
spout of the can.

2. Water is poured into can until it spills out through the spout.

3. The beaker is replaced with an empty beaker which has been weighed
on a triple-beam balance.

4. A stone is suspended from the spring balance and its weight in air,

5. The stone is then lowered into Eureka can until it is completely

immersed and is freely suspended in the water without touching the
bottom of the can.

6. The water displaced flows via the spout into the beaker.

7. The spring balanced reading is noted. This is the weight of the stone in

8. A triple beam balance is used to determine the mass of beaker and

water displaced.

Density and Buoyancy

Archimedess Principle :

Buoyant Force

= Weight of fluid displaced

= mg

= Vg

(note :

= Vg




= Density of fluid

= Volume of fluid displaced or


(note : F = ma)

= Buoyant Force or Upthrust

the volume of the object that immersed in the fluid.

stone of volume 9 weighs 0.36 N in air.

Find its apparent weight in a liquid of density 0.8

Buoyant force,
= 800
= 0.072 N

= Actual weight Buoyant force

= 0.36 0.072
= 0.288 N

Buoyancy Force and Floatation

Buoyant force = weight the object floats and
Buoyant force > weight the object moves up
Buoyant force < weight the object moves down


warm fresh

cold fresh

warm sea

cold sea

1. Why the depth of ship immersed in the water different?

Fresh water less dense than sea water and warm water
less dense than cold water so warm fresh water need to
be displaced more to keep the upthrust force equal
with weight of the boat so it still can float.

If the plasticine is formed into a ball, it will sink.

But when it is formed into a hull it will float. Why?


Hot air balloon
1. rises upwards
(Upthrust > Weight of hot air (helium gas) + weight of airship
fabric + weight of gondola + weight of passengers.)( balloon
(Upthrust < Weight of hot air (helium gas) + weight of airship
fabric + weight of gondola + weight of passengers.)(balloon
3. stationary
(Upthrust = Weight of hot air (helium gas) + weight of airship
fabric + weight of gondola + weight of passengers.)( balloon size


The density of sea water varies with

location and season. To ensure that a
ship is loaded within safe limits , the
Plimsoll line marked on the body of the
ship acts as a guide.

If ballast tanks empty Upthrust >
weight submarine rises to surface
If ballast tanks full Upthrust <
weight submarine sinks to bottom

An hydrometer is an instrument used to
measure the density of a liquid.
lead shot to make it float upright

In a liquid of lesser density , the hydrometer is more submerged.

The hydrometer floats higher in a liquid of higher density