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College Physics

11.7 Archimedes’ Principle

College Physics11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction: The Nature of Science and Physics
    1. Introduction to Science and the Realm of Physics, Physical Quantities, and Units
    2. 1.1 Physics: An Introduction
    3. 1.2 Physical Quantities and Units
    4. 1.3 Accuracy, Precision, and Significant Figures
    5. 1.4 Approximation
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  3. 2 Kinematics
    1. Introduction to One-Dimensional Kinematics
    2. 2.1 Displacement
    3. 2.2 Vectors, Scalars, and Coordinate Systems
    4. 2.3 Time, Velocity, and Speed
    5. 2.4 Acceleration
    6. 2.5 Motion Equations for Constant Acceleration in One Dimension
    7. 2.6 Problem-Solving Basics for One-Dimensional Kinematics
    8. 2.7 Falling Objects
    9. 2.8 Graphical Analysis of One-Dimensional Motion
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  4. 3 Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    1. Introduction to Two-Dimensional Kinematics
    2. 3.1 Kinematics in Two Dimensions: An Introduction
    3. 3.2 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Graphical Methods
    4. 3.3 Vector Addition and Subtraction: Analytical Methods
    5. 3.4 Projectile Motion
    6. 3.5 Addition of Velocities
    7. Glossary
    8. Section Summary
    9. Conceptual Questions
    10. Problems & Exercises
  5. 4 Dynamics: Force and Newton's Laws of Motion
    1. Introduction to Dynamics: Newton’s Laws of Motion
    2. 4.1 Development of Force Concept
    3. 4.2 Newton’s First Law of Motion: Inertia
    4. 4.3 Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Concept of a System
    5. 4.4 Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Symmetry in Forces
    6. 4.5 Normal, Tension, and Other Examples of Forces
    7. 4.6 Problem-Solving Strategies
    8. 4.7 Further Applications of Newton’s Laws of Motion
    9. 4.8 Extended Topic: The Four Basic Forces—An Introduction
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  6. 5 Further Applications of Newton's Laws: Friction, Drag, and Elasticity
    1. Introduction: Further Applications of Newton’s Laws
    2. 5.1 Friction
    3. 5.2 Drag Forces
    4. 5.3 Elasticity: Stress and Strain
    5. Glossary
    6. Section Summary
    7. Conceptual Questions
    8. Problems & Exercises
  7. 6 Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation
    1. Introduction to Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation
    2. 6.1 Rotation Angle and Angular Velocity
    3. 6.2 Centripetal Acceleration
    4. 6.3 Centripetal Force
    5. 6.4 Fictitious Forces and Non-inertial Frames: The Coriolis Force
    6. 6.5 Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation
    7. 6.6 Satellites and Kepler’s Laws: An Argument for Simplicity
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  8. 7 Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    1. Introduction to Work, Energy, and Energy Resources
    2. 7.1 Work: The Scientific Definition
    3. 7.2 Kinetic Energy and the Work-Energy Theorem
    4. 7.3 Gravitational Potential Energy
    5. 7.4 Conservative Forces and Potential Energy
    6. 7.5 Nonconservative Forces
    7. 7.6 Conservation of Energy
    8. 7.7 Power
    9. 7.8 Work, Energy, and Power in Humans
    10. 7.9 World Energy Use
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  9. 8 Linear Momentum and Collisions
    1. Introduction to Linear Momentum and Collisions
    2. 8.1 Linear Momentum and Force
    3. 8.2 Impulse
    4. 8.3 Conservation of Momentum
    5. 8.4 Elastic Collisions in One Dimension
    6. 8.5 Inelastic Collisions in One Dimension
    7. 8.6 Collisions of Point Masses in Two Dimensions
    8. 8.7 Introduction to Rocket Propulsion
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  10. 9 Statics and Torque
    1. Introduction to Statics and Torque
    2. 9.1 The First Condition for Equilibrium
    3. 9.2 The Second Condition for Equilibrium
    4. 9.3 Stability
    5. 9.4 Applications of Statics, Including Problem-Solving Strategies
    6. 9.5 Simple Machines
    7. 9.6 Forces and Torques in Muscles and Joints
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  11. 10 Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    1. Introduction to Rotational Motion and Angular Momentum
    2. 10.1 Angular Acceleration
    3. 10.2 Kinematics of Rotational Motion
    4. 10.3 Dynamics of Rotational Motion: Rotational Inertia
    5. 10.4 Rotational Kinetic Energy: Work and Energy Revisited
    6. 10.5 Angular Momentum and Its Conservation
    7. 10.6 Collisions of Extended Bodies in Two Dimensions
    8. 10.7 Gyroscopic Effects: Vector Aspects of Angular Momentum
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  12. 11 Fluid Statics
    1. Introduction to Fluid Statics
    2. 11.1 What Is a Fluid?
    3. 11.2 Density
    4. 11.3 Pressure
    5. 11.4 Variation of Pressure with Depth in a Fluid
    6. 11.5 Pascal’s Principle
    7. 11.6 Gauge Pressure, Absolute Pressure, and Pressure Measurement
    8. 11.7 Archimedes’ Principle
    9. 11.8 Cohesion and Adhesion in Liquids: Surface Tension and Capillary Action
    10. 11.9 Pressures in the Body
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  13. 12 Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    1. Introduction to Fluid Dynamics and Its Biological and Medical Applications
    2. 12.1 Flow Rate and Its Relation to Velocity
    3. 12.2 Bernoulli’s Equation
    4. 12.3 The Most General Applications of Bernoulli’s Equation
    5. 12.4 Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuille’s Law
    6. 12.5 The Onset of Turbulence
    7. 12.6 Motion of an Object in a Viscous Fluid
    8. 12.7 Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion, Osmosis, and Related Processes
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  14. 13 Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    1. Introduction to Temperature, Kinetic Theory, and the Gas Laws
    2. 13.1 Temperature
    3. 13.2 Thermal Expansion of Solids and Liquids
    4. 13.3 The Ideal Gas Law
    5. 13.4 Kinetic Theory: Atomic and Molecular Explanation of Pressure and Temperature
    6. 13.5 Phase Changes
    7. 13.6 Humidity, Evaporation, and Boiling
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  15. 14 Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    1. Introduction to Heat and Heat Transfer Methods
    2. 14.1 Heat
    3. 14.2 Temperature Change and Heat Capacity
    4. 14.3 Phase Change and Latent Heat
    5. 14.4 Heat Transfer Methods
    6. 14.5 Conduction
    7. 14.6 Convection
    8. 14.7 Radiation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  16. 15 Thermodynamics
    1. Introduction to Thermodynamics
    2. 15.1 The First Law of Thermodynamics
    3. 15.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics and Some Simple Processes
    4. 15.3 Introduction to the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Heat Engines and Their Efficiency
    5. 15.4 Carnot’s Perfect Heat Engine: The Second Law of Thermodynamics Restated
    6. 15.5 Applications of Thermodynamics: Heat Pumps and Refrigerators
    7. 15.6 Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Disorder and the Unavailability of Energy
    8. 15.7 Statistical Interpretation of Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics: The Underlying Explanation
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  17. 16 Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    1. Introduction to Oscillatory Motion and Waves
    2. 16.1 Hooke’s Law: Stress and Strain Revisited
    3. 16.2 Period and Frequency in Oscillations
    4. 16.3 Simple Harmonic Motion: A Special Periodic Motion
    5. 16.4 The Simple Pendulum
    6. 16.5 Energy and the Simple Harmonic Oscillator
    7. 16.6 Uniform Circular Motion and Simple Harmonic Motion
    8. 16.7 Damped Harmonic Motion
    9. 16.8 Forced Oscillations and Resonance
    10. 16.9 Waves
    11. 16.10 Superposition and Interference
    12. 16.11 Energy in Waves: Intensity
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
  18. 17 Physics of Hearing
    1. Introduction to the Physics of Hearing
    2. 17.1 Sound
    3. 17.2 Speed of Sound, Frequency, and Wavelength
    4. 17.3 Sound Intensity and Sound Level
    5. 17.4 Doppler Effect and Sonic Booms
    6. 17.5 Sound Interference and Resonance: Standing Waves in Air Columns
    7. 17.6 Hearing
    8. 17.7 Ultrasound
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  19. 18 Electric Charge and Electric Field
    1. Introduction to Electric Charge and Electric Field
    2. 18.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
    3. 18.2 Conductors and Insulators
    4. 18.3 Coulomb’s Law
    5. 18.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
    6. 18.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
    7. 18.6 Electric Forces in Biology
    8. 18.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
    9. 18.8 Applications of Electrostatics
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  20. 19 Electric Potential and Electric Field
    1. Introduction to Electric Potential and Electric Energy
    2. 19.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
    3. 19.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
    4. 19.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
    5. 19.4 Equipotential Lines
    6. 19.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics
    7. 19.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel
    8. 19.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  21. 20 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    1. Introduction to Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law
    2. 20.1 Current
    3. 20.2 Ohm’s Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
    4. 20.3 Resistance and Resistivity
    5. 20.4 Electric Power and Energy
    6. 20.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
    7. 20.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body
    8. 20.7 Nerve Conduction–Electrocardiograms
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  22. 21 Circuits and DC Instruments
    1. Introduction to Circuits and DC Instruments
    2. 21.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
    3. 21.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
    4. 21.3 Kirchhoff’s Rules
    5. 21.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
    6. 21.5 Null Measurements
    7. 21.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  23. 22 Magnetism
    1. Introduction to Magnetism
    2. 22.1 Magnets
    3. 22.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
    4. 22.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
    5. 22.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
    6. 22.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
    7. 22.6 The Hall Effect
    8. 22.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
    9. 22.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
    10. 22.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Ampere’s Law
    11. 22.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
    12. 22.11 More Applications of Magnetism
    13. Glossary
    14. Section Summary
    15. Conceptual Questions
    16. Problems & Exercises
  24. 23 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies
    1. Introduction to Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits and Electrical Technologies
    2. 23.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
    3. 23.2 Faraday’s Law of Induction: Lenz’s Law
    4. 23.3 Motional Emf
    5. 23.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
    6. 23.5 Electric Generators
    7. 23.6 Back Emf
    8. 23.7 Transformers
    9. 23.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
    10. 23.9 Inductance
    11. 23.10 RL Circuits
    12. 23.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
    13. 23.12 RLC Series AC Circuits
    14. Glossary
    15. Section Summary
    16. Conceptual Questions
    17. Problems & Exercises
  25. 24 Electromagnetic Waves
    1. Introduction to Electromagnetic Waves
    2. 24.1 Maxwell’s Equations: Electromagnetic Waves Predicted and Observed
    3. 24.2 Production of Electromagnetic Waves
    4. 24.3 The Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 24.4 Energy in Electromagnetic Waves
    6. Glossary
    7. Section Summary
    8. Conceptual Questions
    9. Problems & Exercises
  26. 25 Geometric Optics
    1. Introduction to Geometric Optics
    2. 25.1 The Ray Aspect of Light
    3. 25.2 The Law of Reflection
    4. 25.3 The Law of Refraction
    5. 25.4 Total Internal Reflection
    6. 25.5 Dispersion: The Rainbow and Prisms
    7. 25.6 Image Formation by Lenses
    8. 25.7 Image Formation by Mirrors
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  27. 26 Vision and Optical Instruments
    1. Introduction to Vision and Optical Instruments
    2. 26.1 Physics of the Eye
    3. 26.2 Vision Correction
    4. 26.3 Color and Color Vision
    5. 26.4 Microscopes
    6. 26.5 Telescopes
    7. 26.6 Aberrations
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  28. 27 Wave Optics
    1. Introduction to Wave Optics
    2. 27.1 The Wave Aspect of Light: Interference
    3. 27.2 Huygens's Principle: Diffraction
    4. 27.3 Young’s Double Slit Experiment
    5. 27.4 Multiple Slit Diffraction
    6. 27.5 Single Slit Diffraction
    7. 27.6 Limits of Resolution: The Rayleigh Criterion
    8. 27.7 Thin Film Interference
    9. 27.8 Polarization
    10. 27.9 *Extended Topic* Microscopy Enhanced by the Wave Characteristics of Light
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  29. 28 Special Relativity
    1. Introduction to Special Relativity
    2. 28.1 Einstein’s Postulates
    3. 28.2 Simultaneity And Time Dilation
    4. 28.3 Length Contraction
    5. 28.4 Relativistic Addition of Velocities
    6. 28.5 Relativistic Momentum
    7. 28.6 Relativistic Energy
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  30. 29 Introduction to Quantum Physics
    1. Introduction to Quantum Physics
    2. 29.1 Quantization of Energy
    3. 29.2 The Photoelectric Effect
    4. 29.3 Photon Energies and the Electromagnetic Spectrum
    5. 29.4 Photon Momentum
    6. 29.5 The Particle-Wave Duality
    7. 29.6 The Wave Nature of Matter
    8. 29.7 Probability: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    9. 29.8 The Particle-Wave Duality Reviewed
    10. Glossary
    11. Section Summary
    12. Conceptual Questions
    13. Problems & Exercises
  31. 30 Atomic Physics
    1. Introduction to Atomic Physics
    2. 30.1 Discovery of the Atom
    3. 30.2 Discovery of the Parts of the Atom: Electrons and Nuclei
    4. 30.3 Bohr’s Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
    5. 30.4 X Rays: Atomic Origins and Applications
    6. 30.5 Applications of Atomic Excitations and De-Excitations
    7. 30.6 The Wave Nature of Matter Causes Quantization
    8. 30.7 Patterns in Spectra Reveal More Quantization
    9. 30.8 Quantum Numbers and Rules
    10. 30.9 The Pauli Exclusion Principle
    11. Glossary
    12. Section Summary
    13. Conceptual Questions
    14. Problems & Exercises
  32. 31 Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    1. Introduction to Radioactivity and Nuclear Physics
    2. 31.1 Nuclear Radioactivity
    3. 31.2 Radiation Detection and Detectors
    4. 31.3 Substructure of the Nucleus
    5. 31.4 Nuclear Decay and Conservation Laws
    6. 31.5 Half-Life and Activity
    7. 31.6 Binding Energy
    8. 31.7 Tunneling
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  33. 32 Medical Applications of Nuclear Physics
    1. Introduction to Applications of Nuclear Physics
    2. 32.1 Medical Imaging and Diagnostics
    3. 32.2 Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation
    4. 32.3 Therapeutic Uses of Ionizing Radiation
    5. 32.4 Food Irradiation
    6. 32.5 Fusion
    7. 32.6 Fission
    8. 32.7 Nuclear Weapons
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  34. 33 Particle Physics
    1. Introduction to Particle Physics
    2. 33.1 The Yukawa Particle and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Revisited
    3. 33.2 The Four Basic Forces
    4. 33.3 Accelerators Create Matter from Energy
    5. 33.4 Particles, Patterns, and Conservation Laws
    6. 33.5 Quarks: Is That All There Is?
    7. 33.6 GUTs: The Unification of Forces
    8. Glossary
    9. Section Summary
    10. Conceptual Questions
    11. Problems & Exercises
  35. 34 Frontiers of Physics
    1. Introduction to Frontiers of Physics
    2. 34.1 Cosmology and Particle Physics
    3. 34.2 General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    4. 34.3 Superstrings
    5. 34.4 Dark Matter and Closure
    6. 34.5 Complexity and Chaos
    7. 34.6 High-temperature Superconductors
    8. 34.7 Some Questions We Know to Ask
    9. Glossary
    10. Section Summary
    11. Conceptual Questions
    12. Problems & Exercises
  36. A | Atomic Masses
  37. B | Selected Radioactive Isotopes
  38. C | Useful Information
  39. D | Glossary of Key Symbols and Notation
  40. Index

When you rise from lounging in a warm bath, your arms feel strangely heavy. This is because you no longer have the buoyant support of the water. Where does this buoyant force come from? Why is it that some things float and others do not? Do objects that sink get any support at all from the fluid? Is your body buoyed by the atmosphere, or are only helium balloons affected? (See Figure 11.18.)

In figures a and b, an anchor and submarine experience buoyancy due to water. In figure c, helium-filled balloons float due to the buoyancy of air.
Figure 11.18 (a) Even objects that sink, like this anchor, are partly supported by water when submerged. (b) Submarines have adjustable density (ballast tanks) so that they may float or sink as desired. (credit: Allied Navy) (c) Helium-filled balloons tug upward on their strings, demonstrating air’s buoyant effect. (credit: Crystl)

Answers to all these questions, and many others, are based on the fact that pressure increases with depth in a fluid. This means that the upward force on the bottom of an object in a fluid is greater than the downward force on the top of the object. There is a net upward, or buoyant force on any object in any fluid. (See Figure 11.19.) If the buoyant force is greater than the object’s weight, the object will rise to the surface and float. If the buoyant force is less than the object’s weight, the object will sink. If the buoyant force equals the object’s weight, the object will remain suspended at that depth. The buoyant force is always present whether the object floats, sinks, or is suspended in a fluid.

Buoyant Force

The buoyant force is the net upward force on any object in any fluid.

A cylinder of cross-sectional area A experiences an upward force F sub 2 on the bottom of the cylinder and a downward force F sub 1 on its top. Buoyant force is due to the difference between the upward force on the bottom of the cylinder and the downward force on its top.
Figure 11.19 Pressure due to the weight of a fluid increases with depth since P=hρgP=hρg size 12{P=hρg} {}. This pressure and associated upward force on the bottom of the cylinder are greater than the downward force on the top of the cylinder. Their difference is the buoyant force FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {}. (Horizontal forces cancel.)

Just how great is this buoyant force? To answer this question, think about what happens when a submerged object is removed from a fluid, as in Figure 11.20.

An object immersed in a fluid rises if its buoyant force is greater than its weight and sinks if its buoyant force is less than its weight. By Archimedes’ principle the buoyant force equals the weight of the fluid displaced.
Figure 11.20 (a) An object submerged in a fluid experiences a buoyant force FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {}. If FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {} is greater than the weight of the object, the object will rise. If FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {} is less than the weight of the object, the object will sink. (b) If the object is removed, it is replaced by fluid having weight wflwfl size 12{w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}. Since this weight is supported by surrounding fluid, the buoyant force must equal the weight of the fluid displaced. That is, FB=wflFB=wfl size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } =w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {},a statement of Archimedes’ principle.

The space it occupied is filled by fluid having a weight wflwfl size 12{w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}. This weight is supported by the surrounding fluid, and so the buoyant force must equal wflwfl size 12{w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}, the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. It is a tribute to the genius of the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes (ca. 287–212 B.C.) that he stated this principle long before concepts of force were well established. Stated in words, Archimedes’ principle is as follows: The buoyant force on an object equals the weight of the fluid it displaces. In equation form, Archimedes’ principle is

FB=wfl,FB=wfl, size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } =w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}
11.30

where FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {} is the buoyant force and wflwfl size 12{w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {} is the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. Archimedes’ principle is valid in general, for any object in any fluid, whether partially or totally submerged.

Archimedes’ Principle

According to this principle the buoyant force on an object equals the weight of the fluid it displaces. In equation form, Archimedes’ principle is

FB=wfl,FB=wfl, size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } =w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}
11.31

where FBFB size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } } {} is the buoyant force and wflwfl size 12{w rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {} is the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Humm … High-tech body swimsuits were introduced in 2008 in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. One concern (and international rule) was that these suits should not provide any buoyancy advantage. How do you think that this rule could be verified?

Making Connections: Take-Home Investigation

The density of aluminum foil is 2.7 times the density of water. Take a piece of foil, roll it up into a ball and drop it into water. Does it sink? Why or why not? Can you make it sink?

Floating and Sinking

Drop a lump of clay in water. It will sink. Then mold the lump of clay into the shape of a boat, and it will float. Because of its shape, the boat displaces more water than the lump and experiences a greater buoyant force. The same is true of steel ships.

Example 11.8 Calculating buoyant force: dependency on shape

(a) Calculate the buoyant force on 10,000 metric tons (1.00×107kg)(1.00×107kg) size 12{ \( 1 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{7} } `"kg" \) } {} of solid steel completely submerged in water, and compare this with the steel’s weight. (b) What is the maximum buoyant force that water could exert on this same steel if it were shaped into a boat that could displace 1.00×105m31.00×105m3 size 12{1 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{5} } `m rSup { size 8{3} } } {} of water?

Strategy for (a)

To find the buoyant force, we must find the weight of water displaced. We can do this by using the densities of water and steel given in Table 11.1. We note that, since the steel is completely submerged, its volume and the water’s volume are the same. Once we know the volume of water, we can find its mass and weight.

Solution for (a)

First, we use the definition of density ρ=mVρ=mV size 12{ρ= { {m} over {V} } } {} to find the steel’s volume, and then we substitute values for mass and density. This gives

Vst=mstρst=1.00×107kg7.8×103kg/m3=1.28×103m3.Vst=mstρst=1.00×107kg7.8×103kg/m3=1.28×103m3. size 12{v rSub { size 8{"st"} } = { {m rSub { size 8{"st"} } } over {ρ rSub { size 8{"st"} } } } = { {1 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{7} } `"kg"} over {7 "." 8 times "10" rSup { size 8{3} } `"kg/m" rSup { size 8{3} } } } =1 "." "28" times "10" rSup { size 8{3} } `m rSup { size 8{3} } } {}
11.32

Because the steel is completely submerged, this is also the volume of water displaced, VwVw size 12{V rSub { size 8{w} } } {}. We can now find the mass of water displaced from the relationship between its volume and density, both of which are known. This gives

m w = ρ w V w = ( 1.000 × 10 3 kg/m 3 ) ( 1.28 × 10 3 m 3 ) = 1.28 × 10 6 kg. m w = ρ w V w = ( 1.000 × 10 3 kg/m 3 ) ( 1.28 × 10 3 m 3 ) = 1.28 × 10 6 kg. alignc { stack { size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } =ρ rSub { size 8{w} } V rSub { size 8{w} } = \( 1 "." "000" times "10" rSup { size 8{3} } `"kg/m" rSup { size 8{3} } \) \( 1 "." "28" times "10" rSup { size 8{3} } `m rSup { size 8{3} } \) } {} # =1 "." "28" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } `"kg" "." {} } } {}
11.33

By Archimedes’ principle, the weight of water displaced is mwgmwg size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } g} {}, so the buoyant force is

F B = w w = m w g = 1.28 × 10 6 kg 9.80 m/s 2 = 1.3 × 10 7 N. F B = w w = m w g = 1.28 × 10 6 kg 9.80 m/s 2 = 1.3 × 10 7 N. alignc { stack { size 12{F rSub { size 8{B} } =w rSub { size 8{w} } =m rSub { size 8{w} } g= left (1 "." "28" times "10" rSup { size 8{6} } `"kg" right ) left (9 "." "80"`"m/s" rSup { size 8{2} } right )} {} # =1 "." 3 times "10" rSup { size 8{7} } `N "." {} } } {}
11.34

The steel’s weight is mwg=9.80×107Nmwg=9.80×107N size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } g=9 "." "80" times "10" rSup { size 8{7} } `N} {}, which is much greater than the buoyant force, so the steel will remain submerged. Note that the buoyant force is rounded to two digits because the density of steel is given to only two digits.

Strategy for (b)

Here we are given the maximum volume of water the steel boat can displace. The buoyant force is the weight of this volume of water.

Solution for (b)

The mass of water displaced is found from its relationship to density and volume, both of which are known. That is,

m w = ρ w V w = 1.000 × 10 3 kg/m 3 1.00 × 10 5 m 3 = 1.00 × 10 8 kg. m w = ρ w V w = 1.000 × 10 3 kg/m 3 1.00 × 10 5 m 3 = 1.00 × 10 8 kg. alignc { stack { size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } =ρ rSub { size 8{w} } V rSub { size 8{w} } = left (1 "." "000" times "10" rSup { size 8{3} } `"kg/m" rSup { size 8{3} } right ) left (1 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{5} } `m rSup { size 8{3} } right )} {} # =1 "." "00" times "10" rSup { size 8{8} } `"kg" "." {} } } {}
11.35

The maximum buoyant force is the weight of this much water, or

F B = w w = m w g = 1.00 × 10 8 kg 9.80 m/s 2 = 9.80 × 10 8 N. F B = w w = m w g = 1.00 × 10 8 kg 9.80 m/s 2 = 9.80 × 10 8 N.
11.36

Discussion

The maximum buoyant force is ten times the weight of the steel, meaning the ship can carry a load nine times its own weight without sinking.

Making Connections: Take-Home Investigation

A piece of household aluminum foil is 0.016 mm thick. Use a piece of foil that measures 10 cm by 15 cm. (a) What is the mass of this amount of foil? (b) If the foil is folded to give it four sides, and paper clips or washers are added to this “boat,” what shape of the boat would allow it to hold the most “cargo” when placed in water? Test your prediction.

Density and Archimedes’ Principle

Density plays a crucial role in Archimedes’ principle. The average density of an object is what ultimately determines whether it floats. If its average density is less than that of the surrounding fluid, it will float. This is because the fluid, having a higher density, contains more mass and hence more weight in the same volume. The buoyant force, which equals the weight of the fluid displaced, is thus greater than the weight of the object. Likewise, an object denser than the fluid will sink.

The extent to which a floating object is submerged depends on how the object’s density is related to that of the fluid. In Figure 11.21, for example, the unloaded ship has a lower density and less of it is submerged compared with the same ship loaded. We can derive a quantitative expression for the fraction submerged by considering density. The fraction submerged is the ratio of the volume submerged to the volume of the object, or

fraction submerged = VsubVobj=VflVobj.fraction submerged = VsubVobj=VflVobj. size 12{ { {V rSub { size 8{"sub"} } } over {V rSub { size 8{"obj"} } } } = { {V rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } over {V rSub { size 8{"obj"} } } } } {}
11.37

The volume submerged equals the volume of fluid displaced, which we call VflVfl size 12{V rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}. Now we can obtain the relationship between the densities by substituting ρ=mVρ=mV size 12{ρ= { {m} over {V} } } {} into the expression. This gives

VflVobj=mfl/ρflmobj/ρ¯obj,VflVobj=mfl/ρflmobj/ρ¯obj,
11.38

where ρ¯objρ¯obj size 12{ { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"obj"} } } {} is the average density of the object and ρflρfl size 12{ρ rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {} is the density of the fluid. Since the object floats, its mass and that of the displaced fluid are equal, and so they cancel from the equation, leaving

fraction submerged=ρ¯objρfl.fraction submerged=ρ¯objρfl. size 12{"fraction"`"submerged"= { { { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"obj"} } } over {ρ rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } } } {}
11.39
Two cargo ships. One is floating higher in the water than the other.
Figure 11.21 An unloaded ship (a) floats higher in the water than a loaded ship (b).

We use this last relationship to measure densities. This is done by measuring the fraction of a floating object that is submerged—for example, with a hydrometer. It is useful to define the ratio of the density of an object to a fluid (usually water) as specific gravity:

specific gravity= ρ ¯ ρw,specific gravity= ρ ¯ ρw, size 12{"specific"`"gravity"= { {ρ} over {ρ rSub { size 8{w} } } } } {}
11.40

where ρ ¯ ρ ¯ size 12{ρ} {} is the average density of the object or substance and ρwρw size 12{ρ rSub { size 8{w} } } {} is the density of water at 4.00°C. Specific gravity is dimensionless, independent of whatever units are used for ρρ size 12{ρ} {}. If an object floats, its specific gravity is less than one. If it sinks, its specific gravity is greater than one. Moreover, the fraction of a floating object that is submerged equals its specific gravity. If an object’s specific gravity is exactly 1, then it will remain suspended in the fluid, neither sinking nor floating. Scuba divers try to obtain this state so that they can hover in the water. We measure the specific gravity of fluids, such as battery acid, radiator fluid, and urine, as an indicator of their condition. One device for measuring specific gravity is shown in Figure 11.22.

Specific Gravity

Specific gravity is the ratio of the density of an object to a fluid (usually water).

A hydrometer has lead at the bottom and air on top. It floats on the fluid and specific gravity can be directly read from it.
Figure 11.22 This hydrometer is floating in a fluid of specific gravity 0.87. The glass hydrometer is filled with air and weighted with lead at the bottom. It floats highest in the densest fluids and has been calibrated and labeled so that specific gravity can be read from it directly.

Example 11.9 Calculating Average Density: Floating Woman

Suppose a 60.0-kg woman floats in freshwater with 97.0%97.0% of her volume submerged when her lungs are full of air. What is her average density?

Strategy

We can find the woman’s density by solving the equation

fraction submerged = ρ ¯ obj ρ fl fraction submerged = ρ ¯ obj ρ fl size 12{"fraction"`"submerged"= { { { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"obj"} } } over {ρ rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } } } {}
11.41

for the density of the object. This yields

ρ¯obj=ρ¯person=(fraction submerged)ρfl.ρ¯obj=ρ¯person=(fraction submerged)ρfl. size 12{ { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"obj"} } = { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"person"} } = \( "fraction submerged" \) cdot ρ rSub { size 8{"fl"} } } {}
11.42

We know both the fraction submerged and the density of water, and so we can calculate the woman’s density.

Solution

Entering the known values into the expression for her density, we obtain

ρ¯person=0.970103kgm3=970kgm3.ρ¯person=0.970103kgm3=970kgm3. size 12{ { bar {ρ}} rSub { size 8{"person"} } =0 "." "970" cdot left ("10" rSup { size 8{3} } { {"kg"} over {m rSup { size 8{3} } } } right )="970" { {"kg"} over {m rSup { size 8{3} } } } } {}
11.43

Discussion

Her density is less than the fluid density. We expect this because she floats. Body density is one indicator of a person’s percent body fat, of interest in medical diagnostics and athletic training. (See Figure 11.23.)

The weight of a person can be determined while submerged in a fat tank. Based on this, the percentage of body weight can be calculated.
Figure 11.23 Subject in a “fat tank,” where he is weighed while completely submerged as part of a body density determination. The subject must completely empty his lungs and hold a metal weight in order to sink. Corrections are made for the residual air in his lungs (measured separately) and the metal weight. His corrected submerged weight, his weight in air, and pinch tests of strategic fatty areas are used to calculate his percent body fat.

There are many obvious examples of lower-density objects or substances floating in higher-density fluids—oil on water, a hot-air balloon, a bit of cork in wine, an iceberg, and hot wax in a “lava lamp,” to name a few. Less obvious examples include lava rising in a volcano and mountain ranges floating on the higher-density crust and mantle beneath them. Even seemingly solid Earth has fluid characteristics.

More Density Measurements

One of the most common techniques for determining density is shown in Figure 11.24.

The density of a coin can be determined by measuring its weight in air and its weight submerged in a fluid of known density.
Figure 11.24 (a) A coin is weighed in air. (b) The apparent weight of the coin is determined while it is completely submerged in a fluid of known density. These two measurements are used to calculate the density of the coin.

An object, here a coin, is weighed in air and then weighed again while submerged in a liquid. The density of the coin, an indication of its authenticity, can be calculated if the fluid density is known. This same technique can also be used to determine the density of the fluid if the density of the coin is known. All of these calculations are based on Archimedes’ principle.

Archimedes’ principle states that the buoyant force on the object equals the weight of the fluid displaced. This, in turn, means that the object appears to weigh less when submerged; we call this measurement the object’s apparent weight. The object suffers an apparent weight loss equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. Alternatively, on balances that measure mass, the object suffers an apparent mass loss equal to the mass of fluid displaced. That is

apparent weight loss = weight of fluid displacedapparent weight loss = weight of fluid displaced
11.44

or

apparent mass loss = mass of fluid displaced.apparent mass loss = mass of fluid displaced.
11.45

The next example illustrates the use of this technique.

Example 11.10 Calculating Density: Is the Coin Authentic?

The mass of an ancient Greek coin is determined in air to be 8.630 g. When the coin is submerged in water as shown in Figure 11.24, its apparent mass is 7.800 g. Calculate its density, given that water has a density of 1.000g/cm31.000g/cm3 size 12{1 "." "000"`"g/cm" rSup { size 8{3} } } {} and that effects caused by the wire suspending the coin are negligible.

Strategy

To calculate the coin’s density, we need its mass (which is given) and its volume. The volume of the coin equals the volume of water displaced. The volume of water displaced VwVw size 12{V rSub { size 8{w} } } {} can be found by solving the equation for density ρ=mVρ=mV size 12{ρ= { {m} over {V} } } {} for VV size 12{V} {}.

Solution

The volume of water is Vw=mwρwVw=mwρw size 12{V rSub { size 8{w} } = { {m rSub { size 8{w} } } over {ρ rSub { size 8{w} } } } } {} where mwmw size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } } {} is the mass of water displaced. As noted, the mass of the water displaced equals the apparent mass loss, which is mw=8.630 g7.800 g=0.830 gmw=8.630 g7.800 g=0.830 g size 12{m rSub { size 8{w} } =8 "." "630"`g - 7 "." "800"`g=0 "." "830"`g} {}. Thus the volume of water is Vw=0.830 g1.000 g/cm3=0.830cm3Vw=0.830 g1.000 g/cm3=0.830cm3 size 12{V rSub { size 8{w} } = { {0 "." "830"`g} over {1 "." "000"`"g/cm" rSup { size 8{3} } } } =0 "." "830"`"cm" rSup { size 8{3} } } {}. This is also the volume of the coin, since it is completely submerged. We can now find the density of the coin using the definition of density:

ρc=mcVc=8.630 g0.830 cm3=10.4 g/cm3.ρc=mcVc=8.630 g0.830 cm3=10.4 g/cm3. size 12{ρ rSub { size 8{c} } = { {m rSub { size 8{c} } } over {V rSub { size 8{c} } } } = { {8 "." "630"`g} over {0 "." "830"`"g/cm" rSup { size 8{3} } } } ="10" "." 4`"g/cm" rSup { size 8{3} } } {}
11.46

Discussion

You can see from Table 11.1 that this density is very close to that of pure silver, appropriate for this type of ancient coin. Most modern counterfeits are not pure silver.

This brings us back to Archimedes’ principle and how it came into being. As the story goes, the king of Syracuse gave Archimedes the task of determining whether the royal crown maker was supplying a crown of pure gold. The purity of gold is difficult to determine by color (it can be diluted with other metals and still look as yellow as pure gold), and other analytical techniques had not yet been conceived. Even ancient peoples, however, realized that the density of gold was greater than that of any other then-known substance. Archimedes purportedly agonized over his task and had his inspiration one day while at the public baths, pondering the support the water gave his body. He came up with his now-famous principle, saw how to apply it to determine density, and ran naked down the streets of Syracuse crying “Eureka!” (Greek for “I have found it”). Similar behavior can be observed in contemporary physicists from time to time!

PhET Explorations: Buoyancy

When will objects float and when will they sink? Learn how buoyancy works with blocks. Arrows show the applied forces, and you can modify the properties of the blocks and the fluid.

Figure 11.25
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