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STABILITY OF COMPLETELY SUBMERGED BODIES

A body in a fluid is considered stable if it will return to its original position


after being rotated a small amount about horizontal axis
Two examples: submarines and weather balloons
The condition for stability of bodies completely submerged in a
fluid is that the center of gravity of the body must be below the
center of buoyancy.
The center of buoyancy of a body is at the centroid of the displaced
volume of fluid, and it is through this point that the buoyant force acts in a
vertical direction.
The weight of the body acts vertically downward through the center of
gravity

Cg

Rightin
g
couple

cb
Cg

(a)

cb

cb
Cg

Overturnin
g couple

(b)

(c)

Approximate cross-sectional shape of a vessel


a) Original position- center of gravity located below the center of buoyancy
b) The action of the buoyant force and the weight to produce a couple that
tends to rotate the vessel back to its original position after being rotated
slightly. Thus, the body is said stable
c) When the body is rotated a small amount, the weight and the buoyant
force produce a couple that tends to overturn it. It is unstable configuration
-

If the center of buoyancy and center of gravity of a body coincide, as with


a solid object, the weight and buoyant force act through the same point,
producing no couple.
In this case, it is said that the body would have neutral stability and would
remain in any orientation in which it is placed.

Prepared by: Firdaus Bin Mohamad

MEC 441

STABILITY OF FLOATING BODIES

Rightin
g
couple

m
c

m
c

W
MB

cg

cg

cb

cb

Fb

Fb

b) Tilted position

a) Original Position

The condition for stability of floating bodies is different from that


completely submerged body.
- Let consider the approximate cross section of a ships hull as shown in
figure above;
a) Original position- the floating body is at its equilibrium orientation and the
center of gravity (cg) is above the center of buoyancy (cb)
b) Tilted position- the body is rotated slightly, the center of buoyancy shifts to
a new position because the geometry of the displaced volume has
changed. The buoyant force and the weight now produce a righting couple
that tends to return the body to its original orientation. Then the body is
said in stable condition.
- In order to state the condition for stability of a floating body, we must
define metacenter.
- Metacenter (mc) is defined as the intersection of the vertical axis of a body
when in its equilibrium position and a vertical line through the new position
of the center of buoyancy when the body is rotated slightly.
A floating body is stable if its center of gravity is below the
metacenter

Distance from center of buoyancy to the metacenter is called MB and can


be calculated through;

MB=
-

I
Vd

Vd is displaced volume of fluid and I is the least moment of inertia of a


horizontal section of the body taken at the surface of the fluid.

Prepared by: Firdaus Bin Mohamad

MEC 441

PROCEDURE FOR EVALUATING THE STABILITY OF FLOATING BODIES


1) Determine the position of the floating body by using principle of buoyancy
2) Locate the center of buoyancy, cb; and compute the distance from some
reference axis to cb, called ycb. Usually, the bottom of the object is taken as
reference axis.
3) Locate the center of gravity, cg; and compute y cg measured from the same
reference axis.
4) Determine the shape of the area at the fluid surface, and compute the
smallest moment of inertia, I, for that shape.
5) Compute the displaced volume, Vd
6) Compute MB=I/Vd
7) Compute ymc= ycb + MB
8) If ymc > ycg, the body is stable.
9) If ymc < ycg, the body is unstable.

Prepared by: Firdaus Bin Mohamad

MEC 441

Example
Figure (a) shows a flatboat hull that, when fully loaded, weight 150 kN. Parts b),
c), and d) show the top, front and side views of the boat. Note the location of the
center of gravity, cg. Determine if the boat is stable in fresh water.

Principles of buoyancy;
Equation of equilibrium: Fv = 0 = Fb W W=Fb
Submerged volume, Vd = B L X
Buoyant force; Fb = fVd =f B L X
Then, W=Fb =f B L X

X=

W
150 kN
m3
=

=1.06 m
B L f ( 2.4 m ) (6.0 m) 9.81 kN

(it floats with 1.06 m

submerged)

Water surface

Cross section of
hull

C
g

X=1.06
ycb=0.5

ycg=0.8

Prepared by: Firdaus Bin Mohamad

MEC 441

Center of buoyancy (cb) it is at the center of the displaced volume of water.


Center of gravity (cg) given at ycg= 0.8 m, hence, Cg is above the Cb, need to
determine the (mc)
MB = I/Vd
Vd= L B X = 6.0 m 2.4 m 1.06 m = 15.26 m3
The moment of inertia, I, is determined about X-X axis in fig (b), since this would
yield the smallest value for I:

I=

L B3 6.0 m 2.4 m3
=
=6.91 m4
12
12

The, the distance from the center of buoyancy to the metacenter is

MB=

I
6.91 m4
=
=0.45 m
V d 15.26 m3

y mc = y cb + MB=0.53 m+0.45 m=0.98 m

( metacenter is above Cg, the boat is

stable)

Prepared by: Firdaus Bin Mohamad

MEC 441