Science facts about ships

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Depending on the size, watercraft are either called as boats (small watercraft) or ships (big watercraft). Here we look at some cool scientific facts about boats and ships.

1. Force of Floating

The fact that ships float on water is no trick, it is all down to buoyancy. Buoyancy is the upward force that acts on a body when it is placed in water. The force acting upwards should be greater than the density of the object. If the density of the object is higher than the density of water then the object will sink. Early builders may not have stated what buoyancy is, but they understood that the ships need to be less dense than the water itself. This understanding lead to the construction of hollow objects to float on water; overtime and with increased innovation, the boats that you see today were built.

2. What fuels them?

For a long time boats and ships were fuelled by steam. Throughout history, it has been documented that steam-powered boats could transport large groups of people across a river using just steam. But these days, ships and boats are being powered by gasoline. The gasoline based engine is a lot stronger and offers greater speeds to these water transportation systems. If you still want to take a look at those old boats that worked on steam, check out the nearest museum that houses old ships and boats.


3. What are they made of?

There are a number of different materials that are used in the manufacturing of boats today. The most common type of material is steel while smaller ships use aluminium as the central material. These smaller ships are required to be lightweight and more compact; this thus leads to them being manufactured using aluminium. Even smaller ones are built using fibreglass or reinforced plastic. But throughout history, the preferred choice of material was wood. The Vikings were known for their strong boats that they built using wood which helped conquer many different places while the Egyptians had built boats using wood to transport goods long before the Vikings decided to use wood to build ships.

4. The Shape

Ships are built in such a way that it accounts for water resistance. Ships are curved in the front while narrow in the end; this is done so that the ship can easily glide on water without having to face much traction. Unlike on land, objects propel forward in the water, and thus ships need to be designed in such a way that there is the least resistance to being propelled in the water.

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