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How The Base Area Of A Paper Boat Affects How Much Mass It Can Carry Science Lab Report

2279 words - 10 pages

An investigation of how the base area of a paper boat affects how much mass it can carry without sinking


Buoyancy is very important in all of our lives. It determines whether an object will float or sink, which is vital to the design of boats, life preservers and many more floating objects. A flaw in the buoyancy of an object can lead to catastrophic events such as sunken boats, oil spills and more.

When an object is placed in the water, the water level rises. The amount that the water level rises is equal to the volume of water that was displaced by the object (Buoyancy, n.d). There are two main forces that act on an object when it is in the water. The first is the floating force, the force trying to push the object upwards, to float. The main force second is gravity, the force that tries to push the object downwards. The floating force acting on an object is equal to the mass of the water that was displaced by the object. Therefore, for an object to be buoyant, the density or mass of the water it has displaced must be equal or more than the object’s mass.

This experiment is going to test how the base area of a boat affects how much mass the boat can carry without sinking.

Research Question:

The purpose of this experiment is to find how the area of the bottom of a paper boat affects how much mass it can carry without sinking.


The independent variable is:
(the one variable that you will change)
The area of the paper boat’s base (100, 225, 400 cm2)

The dependent variable is:
(The variable that you are investigating/measuring)
Mass each boat can carry without sinking (grams).

Control Variables
The factors that you keep the same, so that the experiment is a fair test. Try and list at least 5.

Factors to be controlled:
Reason it needs to be controlled:
How it will be controlled:


Type of paper the boats are made of
Because some types of paper might be more or less water-proof than others. More water-proof types of paper would absorb less water, causing it to sink slower.

The same type of paper will be used in all tests.


Movement of water
Because the movement (waves, splashes) may cause the boat to fill with water. Also, the movement may cause the weights to be moved around on the boat.

The only object in the water at the time of the experiment will be the paper boat and the weights. The water will be kept still during the experiment.


Where weights are placed on the boat
Because the center of gravity will be off balance, causing the boat to fill with water and sink.
The weights will be placed evenly around the boat in all areas.


Mass of paper boat

Because the floating force of an object is equal to the mass of the water displaced. The larger the boat, the more floating force, allowing the boat to be able to carry more mass.

The same size of paper will be used to make all paper boats. No extra paper...

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