Learning to Manage Buoyant Force — Neutral Buoyancy is a Force, not a skill.

Learning to Manage Buoyant Force — Neutral Buoyancy is a Force, not a skill.

A Lesson in Neutral Buoyancy…



We are trained in techniques to regulate buoyancy underwater; however, neutral buoyancy in itself is not an actual skill. Learning to manage the buoyant force, takes skill. Neutral buoyancy: Every object is buoyed upwards by a force equal to the weight of the fluid the object displaces.”.

Your equipment and you are separate. When you don the gear, you become a unit. You need to understand how Archimedes’ principle affects both. When you are properly balanced, your breathe control will allow you to manage your buoyancy through creating a slightly positive, or negative force. In other words, inhale just enough to expand lungs and decrease density, you go up. Exhale, you increase density, and go down.

What’s confusing about the buoyant force and Archimedes’ principle?

Sometimes people forget that the density
‘ρ’ in the formula for buoyant force ‘Fb​=ρVf​gF,’ is referring to the density of the displaced fluid, not the density of the submerged object.

People often forget that the volume in the buoyancy formula refers to the volume of the displaced fluid (or submerged volume of the object), and not necessarily the entire volume of the object. Sometimes people think the buoyant force increases as an object is brought to deeper and deeper depths in a fluid.

However, the buoyant force does *not* depend on depth. It only depends on volume of the displaced fluid ‘Vf’​, density of the fluid ‘ρ,’ and the acceleration due to gravity ‘g.’

Many people, when asked to state Archimedes’ principle, usually give a look of confused exasperation before launching into a wandering discussion about people jumping naked out of bathtubs. So, make sure you understand Archimedes’ principle well enough to state it clearly.

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Ryan Custureri
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