By John Thomas Sieben

Mathematics, Texas Lutheran University, Seguin TX USA

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Things float or they don’t.  Well, it’s not quite that simple. In this exercise we lead students through applications of several laws of physics to develop and solve differential equations that will predict where in a water column a weight with an attached lift bag will become neutrally buoyant and thus float.  In this sense “float” means to be suspended in the water column (not float on the surface.) The weight + lift bag is an interesting (though greatly simplified) model of the human body, in that it is composed of components that will lose volume as pressure is increased (thus increasing density) and parts that will maintain constant volume and density with increasing pressure.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • John Thomas Sieben (2016), "1-036-S-NeutralBuoyancy," https://www.simiode.org/resources/neutbuoy.

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