Hot air balloons, dirigibles and zeppelins use the principle of buoyant force discovered by Archimedes.
They are classified as being “lighter than air”, but it is important to remember that it is not the weight, but the density (weight per unit volume) that is important.
Note that this force, often neglected in accounts of forces, is omnipresent.
In your opinion, how would a Helium balloon behave on the moon?
Click on to run the animation.
- To understand that buoyant force depends only on the volume of fluid displaced.
- To illustrate how hot air balloons fly (the hot air inside the balloon is less dense than the surrounding air.)
A hot air balloon rising in the air, an air bubble rising to the surface of a liquid or the sensation of weighing less in water – these are three applications of Archimedes’ Law.
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