10. Force Due to Liquid Pressure by Integration

by M. Bourne

The force F on an area A at a depth y in a liquid of density w is given by

`F = wyA`

The force will increase if the density increases, or if the depth increases or if the area increases.

So if we have an unevenly shaped plate submerged vertically in a liquid, the force on it will increase with depth. Also, if the shape of the plate changes as we go deeper, we have to allow for this.

So we have:

Force on irregular plate immersed in liquid

Now, the total force on the plate is given by

`F=wint_a^bxy\ dy`


x is the length (in m) of the element of area (expressed in terms of y)

y is the depth (in m) of the element of area

w is the density of the liquid (in N m-3)

(for water, this is w = 9800 N m-3)

a is the depth at the top of the area in question (in m)

b is the depth at the bottom of the area in question (in m)

Example 1

Find the force on one side of a cubical container `6.0` cm on an edge if the container is filled with mercury. The weight density of mercury is `133` kN/m3.

Example 2

A right triangular plate of base `2.0` m and height `1.0` m is submerged vertically in water, with the top vertex `3.0` m below the surface.

Find the force on one side of the plate.


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