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# Why don't ships sink?

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A ship, or any other object that floats, doesn't sink because it's able to displace an amount of water equal to its weight before it becomes submerged. For example, a ship that weighs 1,000 pounds sinks until 1,000 pounds of water are displaced, and then it floats.

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Ships are able to displace enough water to float because they are less dense than water. A ship's density is determined by both the material used to build it, such as wood or steel, and the open spaces within the ship. Because air is so much less dense than water, the combination of steel or wood and air is much less dense than the water below it. In fact, air is so much lighter than water that very little of a boat has to become submerged for it to displace enough water to float. Because of this principle, ships can be built out of materials such as steel that would sink if they were in a solid form.

Ships float because of the upward pressure of the water beneath the boat. This water pressure pushes up on each square inch of the submerged part of the ship and allows it to float on the water's surface.

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## Related Questions

• A:

The weight of water displaced by a 100-ton ship – called displacement tonnage – is 100 tons. The type of ton used to describe displacement in ships is the long ton, which is equal to 2,240 pounds. Therefore, the weight of the water is 224,000 pounds.

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The maximum weight that is allowed to be shipped in a 20-foot container is a gross weight of 24,000 kilograms. This figure includes the weight of the container, which is generally between 2,210 and 2,340 kilograms.

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Boats float because their shape and weight allow them to displace the equivalent weight of water as the boat without allowing the water to overflow into the boat. Scientists use Archimedes' Principle to explain this phenomenon. According to HowStuffWorks, Archimedes stated that an object in a fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.