Factors Affecting Buoyancy Force

Factors Affecting Buoyancy Force

Factors affecting buoyancy force refer to the elements or conditions that may alter the magnitude of pressure exerted on an object that is immersed in a fluid, wholly or partly. Discovered by Greek Philosopher, Archimedes, Buoyancy force occurs as a result of the differences in pressure acting on opposite sides of an object that is immersed in a stagnant fluid. The magnitude of buoyancy force is represented by the symbol, B. In a typical situation, the pressure on the bottom of an object is greater, compared to that on the top because pressure accelerates with depth.

According to Archimedes’ Principle, the magnitude of buoyancy force on an object is equivalent to the weight of the fluid, which it displaces. In a nut shell, buoyancy force is the pressure that enables an object to float or rise when placed inside a liquid like water.

The Key Factors Affecting Buoyancy Force

Considering that not all object can float or rise when immersed in water, there must be certain conditions that affect the occurrence or alter buoyancy force. These conditions may vary based on a number of aspects. The following are the main factors affecting buoyancy force that you should take note of.

Density of the fluid

Density is always determined by the mass and size of an object. In the case of buoyancy, if the density of the object is larger than that of the fluid, it will sink. This does not mean non-existence of buoyancy force. It occurs but dominated by the gravitational forces acting on the object.

On the other hand, if the immersing fluid has a higher density than that of the object, buoyant force will be triggered making the object to stay afloat. Thus, it can be said that buoyant force accelerates with increase in density.


Volume affects buoyancy force on two fronts; volume of the object submerged in the fluid or volume of the displaced liquid. When you push a small piece of cork into a liquid, like water, you will feel some up thrust force on your fingers. This means if you do the same process using a bigger cork, there are chances you will experience a more intensive up thrust. That up thrust force is what is called buoyancy.

Therefore, it can be concluded that buoyant force increases with the volume of the object submerged in fluid. That is why sharp objects sink in fluids while those that are broader can stay afloat for a long time.

Acceleration due to gravity

In the context of buoyant force, gravity comes in as a scaling constant. Besides, buoyancy is an aspect if differentials because of the weight of the immersing fluid. Therefore, if the gravity accelerates, there is a higher chance that buoyancy will also assume the same trend. However, this is proportional to the increase in the weight of the object immersed in fluid.

Misconceptions about factors affecting Buoyancy Force

The three factors above are the key ones that have been proven to have an impact on buoyant force. Although, there may be some unproven factors too. One of the misconceptions that many people have regarding buoyancy force is that it is affected by the mass of an object. However, that is not true.

It should also be noted that the density of the immersed object does not impact the magnitude of pressure exerted on the fluid. In other words, it does not affect buoyant force.

How Buoyancy Force is tested

Having known the factors affecting buoyancy force, you may want to conduct a test and prove the impacts by yourself. Testing buoyant force can be easy and fast, using different objects and fluid. You can use objects with different volumes and weights by simply immersing them in water one by one.

When doing a test of buoyancy force, you should remember to make sure that the fluid stays in the same condition throughout the procedure. From the tests, you will find out that some objects are able to float on the fluid while others cannot. In all the instances, buoyant force is existent, it is just the magnitude varies with the conditions.

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