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INDLAB Equipments Pvt Ltd 1

Fluid Mechanics

Buoyancy Experimental Set-Up

Principle of floatation:

For a body immersed either wholly or partially in liquid, the self-weight

of the body acts in the vertically downward direction while the upward thrust
acts vertically upwards, if these two become equal, the body floats in the water;
this is the principle of Floatation.

To summaries, it may be stated that the floats in the liquid will have its
weight equal to the buoyant force which in turn equal to the weight of the liquid
displaced by the body. On the other hand, if the weight of the immersed body
exceeds the weight of the liquid displaced by it, it sinks. Otherwise, it tends to
make up and stand in the equilibrium position proving the principle of

Dynamics of Floating Bodies and Determination of Meta centric Height

The body that floats in the water will have its weight acting its centre of
gravity, and the up-thrust or the buoyant force which keeps the body unsunk
acts at its centre of buoyancy. The body which floats will always have the centre
of buoyancy below the centre of the gravity. Always this corresponds to the
stable position of the body. The positions of these Centers determine the
stability. If these centers coincide, the condition is NEUTRAL. If centre of
buoyancy is above centre of gravity, the condition is unstable. If a body is given
a heal, the position of centre of buoyancy changes while centre of gravity
remains unaltered. If the original centre of buoyancy (B) and centre of gravity
(G) are joined and produced, it intersects the vertical axis passing through the
new centre of buoyancy (B1). This intersection point is known as Meta centre

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Fluid Mechanics

(M). The position of M with respect to B and G determines the stability of

floating bodies. (See Fig. a, b, c).

The distance between the centre of gravity (G) and Meta centre (M) is
known as Metacentric height (GM).


Floating body dynamics and Meta centre set-up.


I. To check the conditions of stability (Stable, Unstable & Neutral)

Take sufficient amount of water in sump tank & make the ship or boat
float in the water.

Note that the adjustable weight in the horizontal post is at a position so that
the ship is balanced.

At this condition, the plumb line is in vertical position. Now the body is
given a heal, it tilts and restores back to its original/vertical position, but does
not sink in tank.

Move the adjustable weight to some new position, by doing so give a heal to
the body, it may restore to its original position or just stay in new tilted position
or overturn (topple), depending on the position of adjustable weight. This way
the stability, neutrality and instability of the body can be checked.

It may be noted, the adjustable weight is varied in the horizontal direction,

the position of centre of gravity of the whole floating body changes below or
above with respect to centre of buoyancy, thus determining the stability.

II. To determine Metacentric height:

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Fluid Mechanics

The Metacentric height of the floating body is determined experimentally

only when it is in stable position, while in unstable position, the body is not in
static condition to note down the readings.

a) Position the adjustable weight to keep the body in stable condition.

b) Now add the counter weight so that the body heals to new position and
the vertical plumb bob stands at new point.

c) Note down the vertical height (L) and the horizontal displacement (d) of
plumb bob. Note down the distance (X) of the counter weight (W) from
the centre as indicated on the scale directly.

d) If W is the total weight of the body including w(counter weight), the

Meta centric height

GM = ------------
It is interesting to determine the radius of gyration (kg) of the floating body with
respect to the centre of gravity, by using the formulae:

T = 2 ---------
g GM

Where GM is the Metacentric height for any one fixed position of adjustable
weight in stable position, T is the period of oscillation determined by using Stop
Watch and by giving a heal to the floating body and g is acceleration due to

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Fluid Mechanics

Table of Reading and Calculation for Metacentric height Experiment:

SL. Vertical Counter Distance, Horizontal Time, T

NO height Weight, x in mtrs displacement in sec GM Radius of
L in m w in Kg d in mtrs in mtrs gyration Kg
in mtrs
W=Ship weight (Including all accessories) + Counter weight = ( W +w) Kg,


L = vertical height taken= 25 cm, W = 4.11 Kg, w =0.03 Kg/each

SL NO Vertical Counter Horizontal Time, of
Height Weights Distance displacement T in gyration
L in m w in Kg in m X d in m sec GM in m Kg in m
1 0.25 0.03 0.062 0.02 22.84 5.63E-03 0.85
2 0.25 0.03 0.062 0.02 24.06 5.63E-03 0.90
3 0.25 0.03 0.062 0.02 24.37 5.63E-03 0.91
4 0.25 0.06 0.065 0.025 24.65 9.38E-03 1.19
5 0.25 0.06 0.065 0.025 24.68 9.38E-03 1.19
6 0.25 0.06 0.065 0.025 24.62 9.38E-03 1.19

1. Meta centric height:

{w x}L
GM = ------------
= ----------------------------------

[4.11+0.03] 0.02

GM = 5.63 10-3 m

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Fluid Mechanics

2. Radius of gyration Kg in m:

T = 2 ---------
g GM

Kg = ------------ (g GM)1/2

Kg= ------------ (9.815.63 10-3)1/2 = 0.85 m

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