Archimedes' principle

Any object, totally or partially immersed in a fluid or liquid, is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Archimedes' principle allows the buoyancy of any floating object partially or fully immersed in a fluid to be calculated. The downward force on the object is simply its weight. The upward, or buoyant, force on the object is that stated by Archimedes' principle, above. Thus, the net force on the object is the difference between the magnitudes of the buoyant force and its weight. If this net force is positive, the object rises; if negative, the object sinks; and if zero, the object is neutrally buoyant—that is, it remains in place without either rising or sinking. In simple words, Archimedes' principle states that, when a body is partially or completely immersed in a fluid, it experiences an apparent loss in weight that is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the immersed part of the body(s).

For a fully submerged object, Archimedes' principle can be reformulated as follows:

then inserted into the quotient of weights, which has been expanded by the mutual volume

yields the formula below. The density of the immersed object relative to the density of the fluid can easily be calculated without measuring any volume is

Example: A helium balloon in a moving car. When increasing speed or driving in a curve, the air moves in the opposite direction to the car's acceleration. However, due to buoyancy, the balloon is pushed "out of the way" by the air and will drift in the same direction as the car's acceleration.

When an object is immersed in a liquid, the liquid exerts an upward force, which is known as the buoyant force, that is proportional to the weight of the displaced liquid. The sum force acting on the object, then, is equal to the difference between the weight of the object ('down' force) and the weight of displaced liquid ('up' force). Equilibrium, or neutral buoyancy, is achieved when these two weights (and thus forces) are equal.

The equation to calculate the pressure inside a fluid in equilibrium is:

Assuming the outer force field is conservative, that is it can be written as the negative gradient of some scalar valued function:

So pressure increases with depth below the surface of a liquid, as z denotes the distance from the surface of the liquid into it. Any object with a non-zero vertical depth will have different pressures on its top and bottom, with the pressure on the bottom being greater. This difference in pressure causes the upward buoyancy force.

The buoyancy force exerted on a body can now be calculated easily, since the internal pressure of the fluid is known. The force exerted on the body can be calculated by integrating the stress tensor over the surface of the body which is in contact with the fluid:

where V is the measure of the volume in contact with the fluid, that is the volume of the submerged part of the body, since the fluid doesn't exert force on the part of the body which is outside of it.

If this volume of liquid is replaced by a solid body of exactly the same shape, the force the liquid exerts on it must be exactly the same as above. In other words, the "buoyancy force" on a submerged body is directed in the opposite direction to gravity and is equal in magnitude to

The net force on the object must be zero if it is to be a situation of fluid statics such that Archimedes principle is applicable, and is thus the sum of the buoyancy force and the object's weight

If the buoyancy of an (unrestrained and unpowered) object exceeds its weight, it tends to rise. An object whose weight exceeds its buoyancy tends to sink. Calculation of the upwards force on a submerged object during its accelerating period cannot be done by the Archimedes principle alone; it is necessary to consider dynamics of an object involving buoyancy. Once it fully sinks to the floor of the fluid or rises to the surface and settles, Archimedes principle can be applied alone. For a floating object, only the submerged volume displaces water. For a sunken object, the entire volume displaces water, and there will be an additional force of reaction from the solid floor.

In order for Archimedes' principle to be used alone, the object in question must be in equilibrium (the sum of the forces on the object must be zero), therefore;

showing that the depth to which a floating object will sink, and the volume of fluid it will displace, is independent of the gravitational field regardless of geographic location.

) at every location. For this reason, a ship may display a Plimsoll line.)

If the object would otherwise float, the tension to restrain it fully submerged is:

When a sinking object settles on the solid floor, it experiences a normal force of:

Another possible formula for calculating buoyancy of an object is by finding the apparent weight of that particular object in the air (calculated in Newtons), and apparent weight of that object in the water (in Newtons). To find the force of buoyancy acting on the object when in air, using this particular information, this formula applies:

Buoyancy force = weight of object in empty space − weight of object immersed in fluid

Air's density is very small compared to most solids and liquids. For this reason, the weight of an object in air is approximately the same as its true weight in a vacuum. The buoyancy of air is neglected for most objects during a measurement in air because the error is usually insignificant (typically less than 0.1% except for objects of very low average density such as a balloon or light foam).

A simplified explanation for the integration of the pressure over the contact area may be stated as follows:

Consider a cube immersed in a fluid with the upper surface horizontal.

The sides are identical in area, and have the same depth distribution, therefore they also have the same pressure distribution, and consequently the same total force resulting from hydrostatic pressure, exerted perpendicular to the plane of the surface of each side.

There are two pairs of opposing sides, therefore the resultant horizontal forces balance in both orthogonal directions, and the resultant force is zero.

The upward force on the cube is the pressure on the bottom surface integrated over its area. The surface is at constant depth, so the pressure is constant. Therefore, the integral of the pressure over the area of the horizontal bottom surface of the cube is the hydrostatic pressure at that depth multiplied by the area of the bottom surface.

Similarly, the downward force on the cube is the pressure on the top surface integrated over its area. The surface is at constant depth, so the pressure is constant. Therefore, the integral of the pressure over the area of the horizontal top surface of the cube is the hydrostatic pressure at that depth multiplied by the area of the top surface.

As this is a cube, the top and bottom surfaces are identical in shape and area, and the pressure difference between the top and bottom of the cube is directly proportional to the depth difference, and the resultant force difference is exactly equal to the weight of the fluid that would occupy the volume of the cube in its absence.

This means that the resultant upward force on the cube is equal to the weight of the fluid that would fit into the volume of the cube, and the downward force on the cube is its weight, in the absence of external forces.

If two cubes are placed alongside each other with a face of each in contact, the pressures and resultant forces on the sides or parts thereof in contact are balanced and may be disregarded, as the contact surfaces are equal in shape, size and pressure distribution, therefore the buoyancy of two cubes in contact is the sum of the buoyancies of each cube. This analogy can be extended to an arbitrary number of cubes.

An object of any shape can be approximated as a group of cubes in contact with each other, and as the size of the cube is decreased, the precision of the approximation increases. The limiting case for infinitely small cubes is the exact equivalence.

Angled surfaces do not nullify the analogy as the resultant force can be split into orthogonal components and each dealt with in the same way.

When any boat displaces a weight of water equal to its own weight, it floats. This is often called the "principle of flotation": A floating object displaces a weight of fluid equal to its own weight. Every ship, submarine, and dirigible must be designed to displace a weight of fluid at least equal to its own weight. A 10,000-ton ship's hull must be built wide enough, long enough and deep enough to displace 10,000 tons of water and still have some hull above the water to prevent it from sinking. It needs extra hull to fight waves that would otherwise fill it and, by increasing its mass, cause it to submerge. The same is true for vessels in air: a dirigible that weighs 100 tons needs to displace 100 tons of air. If it displaces more, it rises; if it displaces less, it falls. If the dirigible displaces exactly its weight, it hovers at a constant altitude.