# How do large cruise ships float?

Have you ever wondered how those massive cruise ships, weighing in at hundreds of thousands of tons, can actually float? It’s a wonder of engineering and physics that allows these behemoths to stay afloat on the vast ocean waters. Let’s delve deeper into the secrets of how these large cruise ships are able to stay afloat.

### Archimedes Principle

First, let’s talk about Archimedes Principle. It states that any object that is fully or partially immersed in a fluid, will experience an upward force that is equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. The principle is named after Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, who discovered this law of buoyancy over 2000 years ago.

In simpler terms, this means that the amount of water displaced by an object is equal to the weight of the object that enters the water. The upward force generated by the displaced water is what allows objects to float. It is this principle that allows large cruise ships to stay afloat.

A Ship’s Hull and Design

Cruise ships are made up of steel, which is a dense material that shouldn’t be able to float. However, the design of a cruise ship is such that it maximizes the displacement of water. A ship’s hull is designed to have a large surface area on its bottom with a tapered or narrowed top. This allows more water to be displaced while the weight of the ship is distributed over a wider area.

The hull of a cruise ship is also curved which creates an air pocket under the ship. This helps to reduce drag and helps to push the ship forward through the water. The curves also help to distribute weight evenly, preventing the ship from tipping over, even when carrying loads of thousands of passengers.

### Water Tight Compartments and Ballast Tanks

Apart from the hull and design of a cruise ship, it also utilizes water tight compartments and ballast tanks. Water tight compartments help to contain water from flooding one area of the ship, in case hull damage should occur. The ballast tanks, on the other hand, help to control the weight distribution of the ship and stabilize it. These tanks are filled with seawater, on either side or at the bottom of the ship, depending on the ship’s load which helps to balance out its weight.

In summary, the reason large cruise ships are able to stay afloat is due to Archimedes Principle, the ship’s design and the utilization of ballast tanks and water tight compartments. All of which work together to displace water and balance the ship’s weight to enable it to float easily on the surface of the water. With these principles in place, we can enjoy the amazing experience of sailing on some of the biggest ships on the planet.

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