<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Define buoyant force
  • State Archimedes’ principle
  • Describe the relationship between density and Archimedes’ principle

When placed in a fluid, some objects float due to a buoyant force. 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 ( [link] )?

Figure A is a drawing of a ship anchor submerged underwater next to some sea shrubs. Figure B is a photo of a floating submarine with a wake on 3 sides. Figure C is a photo of many colored balloons floating in air.
(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. (c) Helium-filled balloons tug upward on their strings, demonstrating air’s buoyant effect. (credit b: modification of work by Allied Navy; credit c: modification of work by “Crystl”/Flickr)

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 top of the object. There is an upward force, or buoyant force    , on any object in any fluid ( [link] ). If the buoyant force is greater than the object’s weight, the object rises to the surface and floats. If the buoyant force is less than the object’s weight, the object sinks. If the buoyant force equals the object’s weight, the object can remain suspended at its present 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 upward force on any object in any fluid.

Figure is a schematic drawing of the cylinder filled with fluid and opened to the atmosphere on one side. An imaginary object with the surface area A, that is smaller than the surface area of the cylinder, is submerged into the fluid. Distance between the top of the fluid and the top of the object is h1. Distance between the top of the fluid and the bottom of the object is h2. Forces F1 and F2 are applied to the top and the bottom of the object, respectively.
Pressure due to the weight of a fluid increases with depth because p = h p g . This change in pressure and associated upward force on the bottom of the cylinder are greater than the downward force on the top of the cylinder. The differences in the force results in the buoyant force F B . (Horizontal forces cancel.)

Archimedes’ principle

Just how large a force is buoyant force? To answer this question, think about what happens when a submerged object is removed from a fluid, as in [link] . If the object were not in the fluid, the space the object occupied would be filled by fluid having a weight w fl . This weight is supported by the surrounding fluid, so the buoyant force must equal w fl , the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Archimedes’ principle

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

F B = w fl ,

where F B is the buoyant force and w fl is the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

This principle is named after the Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes (ca. 287–212 BCE), who stated this principle long before concepts of force were well established.

Figure A is a drawing of a person submerged in water. Force wobj is expressed by the person, force Fb is applied by the water to the person. Figure B is a drawing in which the person is replaced by water. Now Force wfl is expressed by the water that replaced the person, force Fb remains the same.
(a) An object submerged in a fluid experiences a buoyant force F B . If F B is greater than the weight of the object, the object rises. If F B is less than the weight of the object, the object sinks. (b) If the object is removed, it is replaced by fluid having weight w fl . Since this weight is supported by surrounding fluid, the buoyant force must equal the weight of the fluid displaced.

Questions & Answers

what is the formula for pressure?
Goodness Reply
force/area
Kidus
force is newtom
Kidus
and area is meter squared
Kidus
so in SI units pressure is N/m^2
Kidus
In customary United States units pressure is lb/in^2. pound per square inch
Kidus
who is Newton?
John Reply
scientist
Jeevan
a scientist
Peter
that discovered law of motion
Peter
ok
John
but who is Isaac newton?
John
a postmodernist would say that he did not discover them, he made them up and they're not actually a reality in itself, but a mere construct by which we decided to observe the word around us
elo
how?
Qhoshe
what is a scalar quantity
Peter Reply
scalar: are quantity have numerical value
muslim
is that a better way in defining scalar quantity
Peter
thanks
muslim
quantity that has magnitude but no direction
Peter
upward force and downward force lift
adegboye Reply
upward force and downward force on lift
adegboye
hi
Etini
hi
elo
hy
Xander
Hello
Jux_dob
hi
Peter
Helo
Tobi
what's the answer? I can't get it
Rachel Reply
what is the question again?
Sallieu
What's this conversation?
Zareen
what is catenation? and give examples
sununu
How many kilometres in 1 mile
Nessy
1.609km in 1mile
Faqir
what's the si unit of impulse
Iguh Reply
The Newton second (N•s)
Ethan
what is the s. I unit of current
Roland Reply
Amphere(A)
imam
thanks man
Roland
u r welcome
imam
the velocity of a boat related to water is 3i+4j and that of water related to earth is i-3j. what is the velocity of the boat relative to earth.If unit vector i and j represent 1km/hour east and north respectively
Pallavi Reply
what is head to tail rule?
kinza Reply
Explain Head to tail rule?
kinza
what is the guess theorem
Monu Reply
viva question and answer on practical youngs modulus by streching
Akash Reply
send me vvi que
rupesh
a car can cover a distance of 522km on 36 Liter's of petrol, how far can it travel on 14 liter of petrol.
Isaac
yoo the ans is 193
Joseph
whats a two dimensional force
Jimoh Reply
what are two dimensional force?
Ahmad
Where is Fourier Theorem?
Atul Reply
what is Boyle's law
Amoo Reply
Boyle's law state that the volume of a given mass of gas is inversely proportion to its pressure provided that temperature remains constant
Abe
how do I turn off push notifications on this crap app?
Huntergirl
what is the meaning of in.
CHUKWUMA Reply
In means natural logarithm
Elom
is dea graph for cancer caliper experiment using glass block?
Bako
why the ship created in search way?
Mershak
Practice Key Terms 2

Get the best University physics vol... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, University physics volume 1. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12031/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'University physics volume 1' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask