Q:

# What physics principles are demonstrated by jumping in a pool?

A:

The physics principles of gravity, kinetic energy and fluid dynamics are all demonstrated when a person jumps into a pool. Archimedes' principle and his famous bathtub discovery of volume relationships can also be seen in action.

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Credit: David D CC-BY-2.0

The amount of force with which a diver hits the pool is dependent on the person's weight and the distance dropped. Gravity turns the potential energy of the diver into kinetic energy, which is then transferred to the pool. How the person lands in the water determines how fast he decelerates. If the person dives head-first or feet-first, he pushes aside less water per second than if he belly flops, and so he loses momentum and kinetic energy more slowly; this is why a straight dive is less jarring than a belly flop. This energy transfer also affects the sound of the splash and the waves caused by the dive.

Archimedes discovered that any solid object immersed in a liquid displaces a volume of liquid equal to the solid's volume; this is only apparent if the pool is small enough for the water level to visibly rise. However, Archimedes' principle that an object experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the liquid displaced by that object is always apparent when the person in the pool begins to float.

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