You are on page 1of 13

Buoyancy, Flotation, and Stability

Buoyant force is the resultant fluid force acting on a stationary body that is completely
submerged or a floating body that is only partially submerged.

Buoyant force on
submerged and
floating bodies.

The equilibrium equation of interest is in the z direction and can be expressed as

If the specific weight of the fluid is constant, then

where A is the horizontal area of the upper (or lower) surface of the parallelepiped

Simplifying, we arrive at the desired expression for the buoyant force

Therefore, the buoyant force has a magnitude equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by
the body and is directed vertically upward.

This result is commonly referred to as Archimedes’ principle.

The buoyant force passes through the centroid of the displaced volume as shown in Fig.
16c. The point through which the buoyant force acts is called the center of buoyancy.

A body is said to be in a stable equilibrium position if, when displaced,
it returns to its equilibrium position. Conversely, it is in an unstable
equilibrium position if, when displaced (even slightly), it moves to a
new equilibrium position.

From Fig. 17 as long as

the center of gravity
falls below the center
of buoyancy, the body
is in a stable
equilibrium position Fig. 17 Stability of a Fig. 18 Stability of a
with respect to small completely immersed completely immersed
rotations. body—center of gravity body—center of gravity
below centroid. above centroid.

From Fig. 18, acompletely submerged body with its center of

gravity above its center of buoyancy is in an unstable
equilibrium position.
Surface and body forces
acting on small fluid

The resultant surface force acting on a small fluid element depends only on the pressure
gradient if there are no shearing stresses present.

The resultant surface force in the y direction is


Similarly, for the x and z directions the resultant surface forces are


The resultant surface force acting on the element can be expressed in vector form as


where i ̂ ,j ̂ , and k ̂ are the unit vectors along the coordinate axes. The group of terms in
parentheses in the resultant surface represents in vector form the pressure gradient and
can be written as
The resultant surface force per unit volume can be expressed as

Since the z axis is vertical, the weight of the element is

where the negative sign indicates that the force due to the weight is downward
Newton’s second law, applied to the fluid element, can be expressed as

It follows that


and, therefore,

This the general equation of motion for a fluid in which there are no shearing stresses.
Pressure Variation in a Fluid with Rigid-Body Motion
Even though a fluid may be in motion, if it moves as a rigid body there will be no shearing
stresses present.

The general equation of motion (Eq. 1):

Eq.1 in component form, based on rectangular coordinates with the positive z axis being
vertically upward, can be expressed as

There is no shear stress in fluids that move with rigid-body motion or with rigid-body
Linear acceleration of a liquid with a free surface.
We first consider an open container of a liquid that is translating along a straight path with
a constant acceleration a as illustrated in Fig. 19

The change in pressure between two closely spaced points located at y, z, and y+dy, z+dz
can be expressed as
or in terms of the results of the pressure gradient

Along a line of constant pressure, dp = 0 and therefore from eq. above, it follows that the
slope of this line is given by the relationship


(a) For a constant horizontal acceleration the fuel will move as a rigid body, so that the
slope of the fuel surface can be expressed as


Since there is no acceleration in the vertical, z, direction, the pressure along the wall varies
hydrostatically. Thus, the pressure at the transducer is given by the relationship
where h is the depth of fuel above the transducer, and therefore
Some of the important equations in this chapter are: