STABILITY OF FLOATING BODIES (White pp 92 – 95)
A floating body is STABLE if, when it is displaced, it returns to equilibrium. A floating body is UNSTABLE if, when it is displaced, it moves to a new equilibrium.
Consider a floating body tilted by an angle , as shown below. For the untilted body the point G is the centre of gravity of the body where the body weight, W, acts. The point B is the centre of buoyancy (the centroid of the displaced volume of fluid) where the upward buoyancy force, FB, acts. When the body is tilted the centre of buoyancy moves to a new position, B', because the shape of the displaced volume changes. A new point, M, may be defined, called the METACENTRE. This is the point where a vertical line drawn upwards from the new centre of buoyancy, B', of the tilted body intersects the line of symmetry of the body. The buoyancy force, FB, now acts through B'.
From the centre diagram in the figure we can see that W and FB give a RESTORING MOMENT that rotates the body back to its untilted position. From the right hand diagram in the figure we can see that W and FB give an OVERTURNING MOMENT that rotates the body even further in the tilted direction.
Hence, we can say; if the metacentre, M, lies above the centre of gravity, G, then the body is stable. In other words the METACENTRIC HEIGHT, MG, is positive (MG = zM - zG > 0). If the metacentre, M, lies below the centre of gravity, G, then the body is unstable. In other words the metacentric height, MG, is negative (MG < 0).
The metacentric height, MG, is given by
where I is the 2nd moment of area of the plan section of the body where it cuts the waterline (this is the solid plane surface you’d see if you cut horizontally through a solid body at the water surface lifted the top part up and looked at the bottom of it!), VS is the submerged volume (i.e. volume of fluid displaced) and GB is the distance between the centre of gravity and the centre of buoyancy (= zG – zB). Strategy...
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