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Skills Practice Lab DATASHEET FOR CHAPTER LAB

Fluids, Force, and Floating


Why do some objects sink in fluids but others float? In this lab, youll get a
sinking feeling as you determine that an object floats when its weight equals the
buoyant force exerted by the surrounding fluid.

OBJECTIVES
Calculate the buoyant force on an object.
Compare the buoyant force on an object with its weight.

MATERIALS
balance ruler, metric
mass set tub, plastic, large rectangular
paper towels water
pan, rectangular baking

SAFETY INFORMATION

PROCEDURE
1. Use the table below to record your data.

Measurement Trial 1 Trial 2


Length (l), cm
Width (w), cm
Initial height (h1), cm
Initial volume (V1), cm3 V1
= l w h1
New height (h2), cm3
New total volume (V2),
cm3 V2 = l w h2
Displaced volume (V),
cm V = V2 V1
Mass of displaced water,
gm = V 1 g/cm3
Weight of displaced
water, N (buoyant force)
Weight of pan and
masses, N

Original content Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Additions and changes to the original content are the responsibility of the instructor.
Holt Science and Technology 79 Forces in Fluids
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Fluids, Force, and Floating continued

2. Fill the tank or tub half full with water. Measure (in centimeters) the length,
width, and initial height of the water. Record your measurements in the table.
3. Using the equation given in the table, determine the initial volume of water in
the tub. Record your results in the table.
4. Place the pan in the water, and place masses in the pan. Keep adding masses
until the pan sinks to about three-quarters of its height. Record the new height
of the water in the table. Then, use this value to determine and record the new
total volume of water plus the volume of water displaced by the pan.
5. Determine the volume of the water that was displaced by the pan and masses,
and record this value in the table. The displaced volume is equal to the new
total volume minus the initial volume.
6. Determine the mass of the displaced water by multiplying the displaced
volume by its density (1 g/cm3 ). Record the mass in the table.
7. Divide the mass by 100. The value you get is the weight of the displaced water
in newtons (N). This is equal to the buoyant force. Record the weight of the
displaced water in the table.
8. Remove the pan and masses, and determine their total mass (in grams) using
the balance. Convert the mass to weight (N), as you did in step 7. Record the
weight of the masses and pan in the table.
9. Place the empty pan back in the tub. Perform a second trial by repeating steps
48. This time, add masses until the pan is just about to sink.

ANALYZE THE RESULTS


1. Identifying Patterns Compare the buoyant force (the weight of the displaced
water) with the weight of the pan and masses for both trials.
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Original content Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Additions and changes to the original content are the responsibility of the instructor.
Holt Science and Technology 80 Forces in Fluids
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Fluids, Force, and Floating continued

2. Examining Data How did the buoyant force differ between the two trials?
Explain.
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DRAW CONCLUSIONS
3. Drawing Conclusions Based on your observations, what would happen if you
were to add even more mass to the pan than you did in the second trial?
Explain your answer in terms of the buoyant force.
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4. Making Predictions What would happen if you put the masses in the water
without the pan? What difference does the pans shape make?
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Original content Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Additions and changes to the original content are the responsibility of the instructor.
Holt Science and Technology 81 Forces in Fluids
TEACHER RESOURCE PAGE
Skills Practice Lab DATASHEET FOR CHAPTER LAB

Fluids, Force, and Floating


Teacher Notes
TIME REQUIRED
One to two 45-minute class periods
Sharon L. Woolf
Langston Hughes
RATINGS Middle school
Teacher Prep1 Reston, Virginia
Student Set-Up2
Concept Level3
Clean Up1

MATERIALS
The supplies listed are for one group of 34 students. The tank or tub should have
vertical sides. A small or medium-sized tub works best because changes in volume
can be observed easily. Masses should be added near the center of the baking pan.
A fish tank or aquarium works well for this activity.

PREPARATION NOTES
If you use a tub or pan without vertical sides, the buoyant force and the weight of
the pan and the masses will not be equal. In most cases, the buoyant force will be
greater than the weight. Have students measure the side of the baking pan, and
mark the one-quarter, one-half, and three-quarter levels. Analyze the results.

LAB NOTES
Volumes of liquids are usually expressed in milliliters (mL). Here, the volume
measurements for the water displaced are based on a rectangular container (the
tank or tub), so cubic centimeters (cm3 ) are used.

Original content Copyright by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Additions and changes to the original content are the responsibility of the instructor.
Holt Science and Technology 78 Forces in Fluids