How does a steel ship float on water if metal is heavier than water?

The easiest way to understand the science involved is to float a metal bowl.

While the metal itself is heavier than water and would normally sink like a stone, the shape spreads the weight over a large area.

So, while the metal’s weight causes the bowl to sink somewhat, the bowl’s rim is high enough that the bowl will not be totally engulfed by the water. A ship is not unlike a large bowl.

how does a steel ship float on water if metal is heavier than water

The surface area is much larger than you’d expect if you only see the top portion sitting above the water.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.