MadSci Network: Physics

Re: How does temperature affect buoyancy?

Date: Tue Mar 28 04:54:12 2000
Posted By: Jocelyn Wishart, Lecturer, Education, Loughborough University
Area of science: Physics
ID: 953753676.Ph

The reason warm water is more buoyant than cold is that its molecules have 
more energy and are moving around more. This makes warm water less dense 
and it will rise above denser, colder water.

The main source of error in your experiment would be getting exactly the 
same mass of water into the balloons to make it a fair test. Also the 
balloons themselves may differ very slightly in mass or ability to retain 
water but this effect would be too small to be noticeable.

If you repeat the experiment with two containers, one with warm and one 
with cold water, you should see the balloon filled with room temperature 
water float in the cold but sink in the hot. Why not try it ?

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