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Forces and Motion Science Fair Project

Sinking Through Water: How Does Shape and Mass Affect Velocity?

Sinking Through Water: How Does Shape and Mass Affect Velocity? | Science Fair Projects | STEM Projects
We want to know how the weight and hull shape of an object affects its sinking rate through water. We'll drop different shapes with different masses into a tube of water and measure how fast they sink.


The hypothesis is that a shape with heavier mass will sink at a faster rate than that of a lighter weight in the water tube, and that a shape with more streamlined hydrodynamic properties will sink at a faster rate in a water tube.

Method & Materials

You will make four pyramids, four spheres, four cubes, and four cylinders. You will drill the core out of each shape and fill each one with a different amount of shot. You will then fill the tube with water and drop the shapes one at a time, recording the data.
You will need a foot of clear plastic tube, one person to drop items, four wood spheres, four wood cones, four wood cylinders, four wood cubes, and a stopwatch.


The results show that the more streamlined an object is, the faster it will fall through water. The cone fell the fastest, the cylinder fell the slowest, and the cube and spherical shape fell somewhere in between.

Why do this project?

This science project is interesting because it can help us create new and modified hull shapes for submarines and boats so they can travel more quickly and more efficiently.

Also Consider

Experiment variations to consider include testing different shapes and sizes of objects, testing different amounts of water in the tube, and testing different materials for the objects.

Full project details

You can find additional information and details for this science fair project here. Have fun exploring!

Related video

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