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What is Buoyancy?

Haveyoueverwonderedwhymassiveboatsandshipsweighinghundredsoftonsfloatwhilesmall
objectslikerockssink?Haveyoueverwonderedwhywhenyouinhaleinapoolyoufloatandwhen
youexhaleyousinktothebottomeventhoughyouweighthesame?Thisphenomenoncanbe
explainedbythescientificprinciplecalledbuoyancy.

Buoyancyistheupwardforcethatanobjectfeelsfromthewaterandwhencomparedtotheweight
oftheobject,itiswhatmakesanobjectfloat,sink,orremainneutrallybuoyantinthewater.

Whenanobjectfloats,theupwardbuoyantforceexertedbythewaterisgreaterthanthedownward
forceoftheweightoftheobject.Youcanalsounderstandthisconceptwithnumbers.Ifanobjects
densityislessthanwatersdensity(1g/cm),itwillfloat.

Whenanobjectsinks,theweightoftheobjectisgreaterthantheupwardbuoyantforceexertedby
thewateranditsdensityisgreaterthan1g/cm.Whenanobjectisneutrallybuoyant,meaningit
neithersinksnorfloats,thentheweightoftheobjectisequaltotheupwardbuoyantforceexerted
bythewater.

Whenneutrallybuoyantinwater,theobjectalsohasthesamedensityaswater.Neutralbuoyancyis
averyimportantprincipleintheseaperchcompetition.Justlikearealsubmarine,youwillwantyour
seaperchtobeabletosubmergebelowthesurfaceofthewaterwithoutjustsinkingtothefloor.

Density of Object>1 g/cm Density of Object = 1 0 g/cm <Density of Object<1 g/cm


g/cm


Whenyoustarttobuildyourseaperch,youwillwanttoconsiderthisprinciple.Wecancalculatejust
howmuchbuoyancyyourseaperchwillneedinordertobeneutrallybuoyantifweunderstand
ArchimedesPrinciple.

Archimedessaidthattheupwardbuoyantforceisequaltotheweightofthedisplacedvolumeof
liquid.So,
BuoyantForce=WeightofDisplacedFluid
ThiscanbeexplainedbyNewtonssecondlawwhichstatesthateveryactionhasanequaland
oppositereaction.

Stability
Abodyisstablewhenitisinastablestateofequilibriumwhichiswhenabodyisinastateof
balancebetweenopposingforces.Stabilityisapropertythatenablestheobjecttodevelopforces
thatrestoretheobjectbacktoitsoriginalcondition.Yourseaperchsstabilityalsodependsonits
buoyancy.Thebuoyantforceonanobjectactsthroughthecenterofbuoyancy,whichisthesameas
thecentroidofthedisplacedvolumeofliquid.Thisis
becausetheforceofgravityontheobjectactsthrough
theobjectscenterofgravity.Sincetheseactionsmust
beequalandopposite,thebuoyantforcemustbe
beneaththecenterofgravity.Theweightofthesea
perchalsoactsthroughitscenterofgravity.Ifthesetwo
pointsdontlineupvertically,thenyourseaperchwill
rotateandnotmaintainstability.

Onsubmarines,buoyancyiscontrolledusingballasttanks.Ballasttanksareusedtoallowthevessel
tosubmerge.Themassofthewatertakeninbytheballastsaltersthevesselsbuoyancyandallows
thevesseltodive.Similarly,thewaterpushedoutofthesetanksbycompressedairallowsthe
buoyantforcetoincreaseandthesubmarinetorise.Thetanksarealsousedtomaintainstability.If
thewaterpushedoutandtakeninisnotequalalongtheshipthenitwillbeunbalancedandbeginto
tipinacertaindirection.Ifthereismoreweightinoneendofashipthenmoreaircanbekeptthere
toincreasethebuoyantforceholdingthatsideup.