density and buoyancy

Battleship USS Texas BB-35

What’s the problem?

A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Originally made of wood which floats, by the 19th century, these were replaced by the ironclad: powered by steam, protected by metal armor, and armed with guns firing high-explosive shells. But does it float?

  • Ask – Using metal such as steel to build a battleship had a lot of advantages. Can a boat made of metal float? What are the important things to consider in designing as steel boat?
  • Imagine – A bar of metal will sink. A block of wood will float. A hollow block of wood floats better than a solid one. Can a hollow metal container float? What determines if the metal boat will float? Metals vary in density. For example a one-foot square block of iron weighs more than the same size block of aluminum. How does the choice of metal affect the design?
  • Design, Build – A metal boat will float if the amount of water displaced by the shape of the ship’s hull is more than the weight of the metal boat and all the people and equipment it needs to carry.
  • Improve – A lot of work has gone into the design of boat structures to reduce the amount of metal in the boat itself. The boat must be strong enough to withstand the harsh conditions out on the ocean, and still have enough capacity to carry cargo and supplies.

That’s engineering

  • density
  • buoyancy

Engineering ideas

  • displacement, flotation, buoyancy, desnity

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Challenges for you to work on… Density and Buoyancy

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