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6.

Some Effects Due to Internal Forces


To this point our illustrations of the laws of force
and motion have focused on the effects of external
forces acting on identifiable objects: balls, cars, people,
and so forth. We will next turn our attention to illustrat-
ing the effects of forces that act inside objects and mate-
rials. These internal forces can also be understood in
terms of the laws we have discussed. Such illustrations
are as important as those involving external forces.
We will begin by discussing forces that occur with-
in solid objects such as trees, people, and automobiles.
This will establish some useful general principles.
Then we will examine forces within fluids, mainly
water and air, and discuss buoyancy and other important
manifestations of these internal forces. Finally, we will
discuss some of the forces that occur within the earth
itself and that govern some of the changes we see on the
earth’s surface.

Forces within Solids Figure 6.1. What forces act on a piece of wood inside a
tree trunk?
We have seen that objects exert contact forces on
each other whenever they touch. This is also true for
individual samples of matter within any object.
Consider any ordinary solid: a tree, for example.
Imagine a small piece of wood inside the tree near the
center of the trunk (Fig. 6.1). What do we know about
the forces that act on this sample?
The method for finding forces outlined in Chapter
5 applies to this piece of wood as well as to any other
object. Using this method we first ask about the gravi-
tational force on the piece of wood. There must be one,
because the sample has mass. Thus we know at least
one force, its weight, is acting on this object.
Because there are no long-range electromagnetic
forces, we next inquire about possible contact forces.
Figure 6.2. How can we describe the total effect of all
The sample is touching other wood at all of its bound-
the contact forces?
aries. Electrical contact forces are being exerted at each
point of contact. It is difficult to describe these in detail
weight of the sample. Thus we know that the combined
without knowing more about the internal structure of the
contact forces provide a net upward force on this sample
wood. However, we can determine exactly how large the
of wood, and that the strength of the contact forces is
net force must be due to all of these interactions.
exactly equal to the weight of the sample (Fig. 6.2).
Also notice that the sample is in equilibrium; it is
The same is true for the forces within any material.
not accelerating. This means that the total force must be
When the sample is at rest, contact forces balance the
zero. The total force can be zero only if the combined
long-range forces, usually gravity. If the surrounding
contact forces provide a force that exactly balances the
material is accelerating, these interior contact forces

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change so that a net force is on each piece of the sam- zontal motion. The contact forces, in turn, depend on
ple, causing it to accelerate in accord with the Second what a given piece of matter actually touches. It expe-
Law of Motion. riences no forces from objects that it does not touch.
To better understand this last point, consider the
forces that act when you jump. The contact force with Pressure
the ground is the external force that accelerates your
body upward. Gravity, as always, provides a downward When you immerse an object in a fluid, it is sub-
force. There are no significant long-range electromag- jected to forces from the fluid touching it. Because the
netic interactions. But what force accelerates your contact comes at so many different places, we speak of
head? Your head is not in contact with the floor, so the “pressure” rather than of force. Pressure is defined as
contact interaction with the floor cannot accelerate your the force per unit area of contact:
head. Your head, in fact, is accelerated by contact
forces exerted by that which it touches, namely the top
pressure 5 force
area
.
of the spinal column. The spinal column exerts an
upward force on your skull that just balances gravity Thus, a 100-pound force distributed over an area of
when your head is not accelerating and that exceeds 4 square inches exerts a pressure of 25 pounds per square
gravity (providing a net upward force) when you jump inch. The same force distributed over an area of 1 square
(Fig. 6.3). inch exerts a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch.
For many applications, it is pressure which is the
crucial issue. A pound is a modest force, but if distrib-
Contact Force
uted over a very small area it may exert a pressure of
(with spinal
100,000 pounds per square inch on that small area.
column)
Some materials may not be able to withstand this con-
centration of force and may give way, even though this
same force might not cause any problem when spread
Head
over a much larger area (thus producing less pressure).
You can investigate the pressure exerted on objects
Weight in fluids with a device like that shown in Figure 6.4.
The device, called a gauge, exposes a small, known area
to the contact forces of the fluid. The strength of the
force is measured by how much it compresses the
gauge’s spring. Because you are interested in measur-
ing pressure at a particular position in the fluid, imagine
the device to be as small as possible. Then you can
speak of the pressure at a certain point.
Figure 6.3. What force causes your head to accelerate
when you jump?

The contact force explains the neck pain that a jog-


ger sometimes experiences. When a person is running,
the head moves up and down. Each time the head
comes down, it must be stopped and then accelerated
upward again by forces exerted by the spine. If these Figure 6.4. A pressure gauge.
motions are very uneven or jerky, the forces the spine
exerts on the skull can resemble hammer-blows. When you investigate pressures with your imag-
Continued over a long time, they can cause some struc- ined gauge, you find four simple rules:
tures of the spinal column to deteriorate. Such damage
can be minimized by running as smoothly as possible, 1. Fluids at rest only exert pressure perpendic-
reducing the rate of vertical acceleration by running on ular to the surface of the object in contact with
softer surfaces and wearing shoes with soft soles. the fluid. Fluids at rest do not exert shear
The motion of every piece of matter—whether a (“sideways”) forces, although these are present
single atom, a complete object, or a small part of such when the fluid is moving.
an object—is governed by the laws of motion and force.
In the absence of long-range electromagnetic forces, the 2. Pressure does not depend on the orientation of
interplay between weight and contact forces governs the pressure-measuring device. At a given depth,
vertical motion, and contact forces alone govern hori-

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pressure in the fluid does not depend on direction.
Buoyant
3. Pressure does depend on depth. The deeper Force
the gauge, the greater the pressure. Indeed, the
pressure at any depth in the fluid must equal the Object
weight of the column of fluid above it, if the
column is at rest. This insight provides a way
to calculate the pressure at any depth in a fluid:
Imagine a fluid column of unit area above the
point and compute its weight. Also, it may be Weight
necessary to add the weight of the air column
above the fluid if its surface is exposed to the
atmosphere. At sea level a column of air with
a cross-sectional area of one square inch and
reaching to the top of the atmosphere weighs
14.7 pounds.
Figure 6.5. Fluid pressure causes a net upward buoyant
4. The pressure is the same at all points of the force on any object.
same depth. Pressure does not depend on the
total surface area of the fluid above the gauge. occupied by the immersed object in Figure 6.5 is filled
For example, the pressure on the bottom of a with fluid instead. Now recall our earlier discussion of
dam does not depend on the area of the lake. the forces on a piece of wood inside a tree. Remember
that the adjacent wood was exerting a net upward force
It may seem incredible at first to realize that the that was just large enough to keep the piece from falling.
atmosphere exerts a pressure of almost 15 pounds per The same arguments we used there lead us to conclude
square inch over the surface of your body. Your body here that the water adjacent to our sample in Figure 6.5
has a lot of square inches; the resulting total force on exerts a force on it that just balances its weight.
your body is thousands of pounds, enough to crush you Now, suppose that the immersed object (Fig. 6.5)
to a pulp. You avoid this fate by keeping air pressure exactly fills the space previously occupied by the sam-
inside your body which balances the air pressure on the ple of fluid. The surrounding fluid exerts a net upward
outside. The alternative is not pleasant! force on the object equaling the force previously exert-
ed on the sample of fluid. This force is equal to the
Buoyant Forces weight of the fluid that the object displaced (i.e., took
the place of). This is the buoyant force. The rule gov-
Most of us have noticed that objects immersed in a erning the strength of the buoyant force is known as
fluid, such as water, seem to weigh less than before. Archimedes’ Principle:
However, from our study of the gravitational interac-
tion we know that neither of the factors affecting An object immersed in a fluid experiences an
weight (mass and distance) have changed. Thus, upward buoyant force due to contact interac-
objects really weigh the same when immersed in the tions with the surrounding fluid, whose
fluid. However, they are undeniably easier to lift when strength is equal to the weight of the displaced
immersed. Why? fluid.
This situation is illustrated in Figure 6.5, where a
fluid pushes in on an immersed object from all sides. An object immersed in fluid experiences two
Pressure in the fluid increases with depth, so the forces forces: its weight pulling downward and the upward
pushing up on the bottom of the object are larger than buoyant force. The object accelerates in the direction
those pushing down on its top. The total result is a net of the net force, which is the stronger of these two. An
upward contact force, called a buoyant force. You object sinks if its weight is stronger than the buoyant
should recognize that the buoyant force is really the force, and it rises if the buoyant force is stronger.
result of all the contact forces between the immersed Consider a balloon and a solid metal ball that are
object and the surrounding fluid. However, it is easier the same size and are both submerged in water (Fig.
to think of buoyancy as a single force rather than as a 6.6). The buoyant forces on the two have exactly the
large number of smaller forces acting in different direc- same strength, because they both displace the same
tions as shown in Figure 6.5. amount of fluid. However, the weight of the balloon is
With a little effort we can discern the strength of the much less than the buoyant force. Thus the net force is
buoyant force in any situation. Imagine that the space upward and the balloon rises to the surface. Since the

49
weight of the metal ball is greater than the weight of an The density of an object or sample of fluid is its mass
equal volume of water, its weight exceeds the strength per unit volume, or its mass divided by its volume. An
of the buoyant force. The net force on the ball is down- object sinks if its density is greater than the density of
ward, and it sinks to the bottom. the fluid in which it is immersed. It rises if its density
is less than the fluid in which it is immersed. Do you
see why?
Densities of materials are often compared with the
density of water. This relative density is given the name
Buoyant Buoyant
Force Force specific gravity. Thus, if a rock sample has a density
of 2.3, or a specific gravity of 2.3, its density is 2.3
times the density of water.

Floating Objects
Weight Weight We next turn our attention to objects floating on the
surface of fluids, such as objects floating on water. By
now you should visualize two forces acting on the float-
Figure 6.6. A balloon and a metal ball might be the ing boat in Figure 6.8: its weight pulling downward and
same size. Why does one float and the other sink? a buoyant force exerted by the surrounding water press-
ing upward. These two forces just balance each other,
Now imagine two objects that have the same weight so that once the boat reaches a certain level, it neither
but different volumes (Fig. 6.7). One might be a ball rises nor sinks.
made of wood and the other a much smaller ball made of
iron. Since the wood ball is larger, the buoyant force act-
ing on it is also larger. If the wood weighs less than an
equal volume of water, the buoyant force will exceed the
weight of the ball; the net force will be upward, and the
ball will rise to the surface. The buoyant force on the
smaller metal ball, however, will be less than that on the

Buoyant Buoyant
Force Force

Figure 6.8. How much of the boat is below water level?


Weight Weight
How much of the boat will sink below the water
level? We have seen that the strength of the buoyant
force is equal to the weight of displaced fluid. Thus, the
Figure 6.7. These objects have the same weight. Why
volume of the boat below the water surface must dis-
does one sink and the other float?
place a weight of water equal to the weight of the boat
and passengers. What will happen if the boat is loaded
wood ball. The volume of water it displaces weighs less more heavily? Its weight will increase and it will sink
the metal. Therefore, the metal ball sinks, even though until it displaces more water. How much? Enough
its weight is the same as the weight of the wood ball. water must be displaced so that its weight equals the
weight of the additional freight. What happens if the
ship does not have enough volume to displace the extra
The general rules concerning floating and sinking water? It sinks.
are sometimes summarized simply in terms of density. Icebergs illustrate these same points. They float
because ice has a density about 10% less than water. It
mass . only takes 90% of the iceberg’s volume to displace enough
density 5
volume water to equal its total weight, so the iceberg floats with
about 10% of its volume above the surface of the water.
Several features of this phenomenon are worth not-

50
Figure 6.9. A floating iceberg sinks when more mass is added and rises when mass leaves or is taken away.

Figure 6.10. The earth’s crust floats in (or on) the mantle much as icebergs float in water.

ing. First, compare a large iceberg with a smaller one. the mantle’s buoyant force supports its weight, together
Notice that the larger one has more volume below the with that of the water above.
water as well as above the water compared to the small- The materials that make up the continents are sig-
er one. Second, imagine what will happen if more mass nificantly less dense than the oceanic crust. These
is added to the part of the iceberg above the water, say by lighter continental materials sink into the mantle only
a snowstorm or by visiting walruses (Fig. 6.9). The ice- far enough to displace the weight of mantle material
berg will sink farther into the water, thus increasing the equal to their own. Each continent, and indeed each
buoyant force needed to balance the increased mass. mountain, has “roots” extending far enough below it to
Finally, imagine what will happen if some of the materi- provide the necessary buoyant force.
al above the water is lost, by melting for example. The You can deduce many of the consequences of these
iceberg will rise in the water, since a smaller buoyant ideas by remembering our iceberg example. The taller
force is needed to balance the iceberg’s lightened weight. mountain or continent must have deeper roots, just as
the large iceberg must have more volume below the sur-
Buoyancy in the Earth’s Crust: Isostasy face. If material is added to a continent—for example,
by the formation of a glacier; a flow of lava, or even the
An interesting application of buoyancy occurs in construction of a large building—the crust will sink,
the earth’s crust. The continents actually float in the over time, farther into the mantle. If material is
earth’s mantle in much the same way that ships or ice- removed—for example, by erosion or the melting of a
bergs float in water. The outer layer of the mantle is hot glacier—the underlying crust will rise. The general
enough to have some characteristics of a fluid. In par- principle governing this fluid-like equilibrium in the
ticular, forces within the mantle adjust over long peri- earth’s crust is called isostasy.
ods, following the general rules for fluids we described
earlier. The crust lies above this semifluid layer. Its Convection
general features are shown in Figure 6.10.
The crust underneath the oceans is quite dense (but We now look at one additional illustration of buoy-
less dense than the mantle) and relatively thin. The ant forces. Suppose we have regions of high and low
oceanic crust sinks just far enough into the mantle that density occurring within the same fluid because of dif-

51
Figure 6.11. Daytime convection pattern near a seashore. Air near the land surface is hotter than air over the water.

Figure 6.12. Nighttime convection pattern near a seashore. Air near the land surface is cooler than air over the water.

ferent temperatures within the fluid. Most fluids Consider the common example shown in Figure
expand when their temperatures rise. Thus, they 6.11 of a large body of water adjacent to land. The tem-
become less dense because the same mass occupies perature of the soil is higher than the temperature of the
greater volume. water during the day. Air above the soil heats and
High-density regions of fluid sink, while low-densi- expands, becoming less dense than the air above; there-
ty regions of fluid rise. Do you see why? High-density fore, it rises. As it rises, it is replaced by the cooler,
regions displace surrounding fluid, but the displaced denser air from the water. A circulation pattern is estab-
fluid does not weigh as much. Thus, the buoyant force lished as shown in the figure. The result is a cool breeze
on the high-density region is less than its weight, so it from the body of water during the day.
sinks. Low-density regions also displace fluid. In their The situation is reversed at night. The land cools
case, the displaced fluid weighs more. Thus, the buoy- more rapidly and, in many cases, becomes cooler than
ant force on the region is greater that its weight, so it the water. Air circulation then proceeds in the opposite
rises. The result in both cases is that cooler regions of direction, with the surface wind blowing away from the
fluid sink as warmer regions rise. These motions cause land (Fig. 6.12).
interesting and important processes in nature. This kind of circulation, caused by differences in tem-

52
perature and density, is called convection. It is responsi- earth’s crust seen as “floating” in the underlying
ble for many of the broad circulation patterns in the earth’s mantle rock.
atmosphere and oceans. Convection is probably the mech- 6. Pressure: The force applied to the surface of an
anism that also drives broad regions of the earth’s crust object divided by the area over which the force is
from place to place on the surface of the earth. applied. Force per unit area.
Notice that convection depends on the presence of 7. Specific Gravity: The density of a material divid-
gravitational forces. Neither weight nor buoyant forces ed by the density of a reference substance, usually
would be present without gravity, so there would be no water. The specific gravity of water is 1.0, if water
convection. itself is the reference substance.

Summary D. FOCUS QUESTIONS


1. In each of the following situations:
This chapter extends applications of the laws of a. Describe the motion.
motion and force to forces within materials, particular- b. Analyze the motion by applying the procedure of
ly fluids. Chapter 5 (Finding Forces).
c. List the fundamental principles used in coming to
STUDY GUIDE the results of your analysis.
Chapter 6: Some Effects Due to Internal Forces (1) A cube of wood within a tree trunk.
(2) A cube of air above you on a calm day. The
A. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES air is not moving.
1. The First Law of Motion: See Chapter 3. (3) A part of the surface of a can when the air
2. The Second Law of Motion: See Chapter 3. was pumped out.
3. The Third Law of Motion: See Chapter 3. (4) An imaginary, vertical cylinder of water in
4. The Universal Law of Gravitation: a tub of water at rest.
See Chapter 4. 2. Consider three spheres of the same size completely
5. The Electric Force Law: See Chapter 4. submerged in a tub of water. One sphere is made of
lead, another is made of wood, and the third is
B. MODELS, IDEAS, QUESTIONS, OR APPLICA- made of water.
TIONS a. How do the weights of the three objects compare
1. How can you use the laws of force and motion to to each other?
analyze the motion of a part of a stationary object? b. How do the buoyant forces on the three objects
2. How can you use the laws of force and account for compare to each other?
the motion of a part of a fluid? What is a buoyant c. Analyze the motion of the three objects by
force? What is Archimedes’ Principle? applying the procedure above.
3. How can you apply this understanding to explain: d. List the fundamental principles used in coming
a. floating objects? to the results of your analysis.
b. buoyancy in the crust of the earth? 3. Consider a floating iceberg:
c. convection in a liquid or a gas? a. Describe why it floats by using the procedure
given to analyze motion.
C. GLOSSARY b. What happens when some of the iceberg melts?
1. Archimedes’ Principle: An object immersed in a Why does it happen?
fluid experiences an upward buoyant force due to c. What happens when it snows on the top of the
contact interactions with the surrounding fluid, iceberg? Why?
whose strength is equal to the weight of the dis-
placed fluid. E. EXERCISES
2. Buoyant Force: For an object at rest which is 6.1. Consider a piece of air 20 meters above the
wholly or partially immersed in a fluid, the buoyant ground. What keeps it from falling?
force is the net or resultant force of the contact
forces exerted on the object by the fluid. 6.2. Imagine yourself running. What forces gov-
3. Convection: The circulation (movement) of the ern the motion of each foot from the time it leaves the
matter of a fluid because of differences in tempera- ground until it returns to the ground?
ture and pressure throughout the fluid.
4. Density: The mass per unit volume of a substance. 6.3. Imagine yourself in an elevator. What force
5. Isostasy: The word means “balance.” In geology, accelerates your stomach when the elevator begins to
the term is applied to the balance of the buoyant move up?
force and the force of gravity on a piece of the

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6.4. Explain why it is easier to lift a rock when it 6.20. Explain why buoyant forces cause convec-
is under water than when it is above water. tion when a fluid such as air is unevenly heated.

6.5. Do heavy objects always sink? Under what 6.21. An object sinks in oil but floats in water.
circumstances would a heavy object not sink? Which is true?
(a) The above situation is not possible.
6.6. Explain why an object sinks if it is more dense (b) Oil decreases the gravitational force on an object.
than the fluid it is immersed in. (c) Water increases the gravitational force on an
object.
6.7. Explain why the strength of a buoyant force is (d) The buoyant force on the object immersed in
equal to the weight of displaced fluid. oil is greater than the gravitational force.
(e) The buoyant force on the object floating in
6.8. Describe the interaction which causes the water is equal to the gravitational force.
buoyant force on an immersed object. Is this a long-
range or a contact interaction? What other interaction is
important when describing the behavior of objects
immersed in a fluid?

6.9. Does the strength of the buoyant force depend


on the weight of an immersed object, its size, its densi-
ty, the density of the fluid, all of these, or none of these?
Explain your answer.

6.10. Explain why a kilogram of wood can float in


water when a kilogram of iron sinks.

6.11. Explain why a helium-filled balloon rises but


why an air-filled balloon does not. What factors deter-
mine how high the helium-filled balloon will rise?

6.12. Explain the meaning of “density.’’

6.13. Explain the meaning of “specific gravity.’’

6.14. Why is a buoyant force always directed


upward?

6.15. Outdoor swimming pools in certain areas of


California sometimes rise out of the ground when they
are drained for the winter. How could this occur?

6.16. Explain why an aircraft carrier can float


while a small ball made of the same steel will sink.

6.17. Explain why an oil tanker sits lower in the


water when loaded than when it is empty.

6.18. Why are the most dense materials of the earth


mostly found near its center?

6.19. Some parts of the U.S. require the excavation of


soft rocks and sediment before laying foundations for large
buildings. What would you expect to happen to such a
building if its weight were greater than that of the removed
rock? What would happen if the building weighed less?
Explain why you would expect such behavior.

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