Why Do Wooden Ships Sink? They’re Made of Wood. Wood floats?

Why Do Wooden Ships Sink

Archimedes’ principle states that “the upward buoyant force that exerts on a body immerses in a fluid whether or partially submerges is equal to the weight of the fluid that the body displaces”.

This factor is the reason why wood tends to float on water. However, there comes the exciting part, why do wooden ships sink? They are made of wood, aren’t they?

We have a growing number of people who are interested and are working in marine insurance or international trade industries daily and are interested in such aspects of the world of water.

But there are frequent causes of a maritime executive who does not have a technical background or any experience on the seas. So we are going to take an in-depth look into the matter through this article.  And, try to solve all your worries.

Archimedes’ Theory

While relaxing in a bathing pool, Archimedes discovered “the principle of buoyancy”. Entering the pool, he pointed out that the water spilt over the sides, which made him feel lighter.

Archimedes came up with the hypothesis that the amount of water that spilt over is the amount of volume of the space that his body settled in. That’s when he concluded, “An object in fluid experiences an upward force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object”.

So as we know that upward force is equal to the weight of the supplant fluid, an object must supersede a higher weight of fluid than its own to float in water — all in all, an object with lower density than the fluid floats. And, an object with a higher frequency than the liquid sinks.

The Density Of The Ship

Ships are usually made of materials that have a much higher frequency than the water because the mass of the boat is the total weight of the vessel, which includes the bunkers, cargo, stores, crew etc. divided by surface volume of the hull.

By which we can conclude that the hull has a surface volume that is large enough to provide the whole ship with a density that is much lesser than that of the water, which makes the boat float in the water. Ships are usually designed in a way so that they could achieve such a property.

Why Are Ships Made Of Woods?

Firstly wood is the most commonly used material, so it’s readily available everywhere in the world. The main properties that make wood suitable for making ships are that it is durable, and it gives you the creative freedom to bend it into any shapes.

Weight per unit volume of wood is low, which also makes wood a proper choice for building ships. Wood helps to make lighter vessels that help carry heavyweight as compared to a metal vessel of the same shape. Wood is also natural to work on and also the easiest to repair.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Wood Used, And Why?

Throughout the time many different kinds of wood have been used, every woods had their phases. Some stayed for a very long time, while other depended affordability. Let’s look at those types of woods in a more detailed manner.

The History Of Wood Being Used In Ship Making

Building wooden ships or boats have been an ancient tradition. We can’t expect anything too we are exotic when here to talk about wooden ships. Vikings didn’t have mahogany or teak anywhere near them, but a colossal forest is what they had with different and good crafting materials.

Oak isn’t cheap, but it has been in use for centuries since the beginning of time. It was so precious and expensive once centuries ago that it was only used for the king’s navy. We have also heard in the tales of histories about England taking over the seas for a while. They used a massive amount of oak forests to build their ships.

Plywood, The Most Common Wood Used In Ship

When it comes to making a ship, plywood is the ideal material. It comes in all proportions higher than most planks, and can also be cut and bend into any creative forms.

Repairing plywood is secure as well. But yet it is not the best choice to build a ship with, firstly it’s not long-lasting and also the glue that the plywood bonds with can stop it from breathing and which makes the moisture in the wood finds its way to the centre and produce rot before it dries up.

Plywood is suitable for making small boats maybe, but not ideal for building big ships.

Teak And Mahogany Being A More Exotic Options

Before plywood, the wooden species that were used are cedar, cypress or teak for making planks because they had a high resistance to rotting. Oak was usually used for frames inside the plank, because of its exceptional ability to bend it into creative shapes.

The most excellent wooden materials that could be used for making ships are teak and mahogany. But they grow in rain forests, and we are at a stage in our world were cutting them off is just cruel and inhumane. We are already losing lots of our heritage. So using them regularly for building ships is not a good idea.

Why Wood Floats?

The ratio of weight compared to volume is what decides if an object floats or sinks. It usually sinks if an object which has a specific amount weighs more than equal than the volume of water.

Water fails to hold it up. On the other hand, it floats if an object which has a particular capacity weighs less than the equal volume of water. Water succeeds to support the weight of that object.

Also, if we talk about density, we all know the ratio between weight and volume is called frequency. Less dense objects tend to float on the water where more dense objects sink.

Why Do Wooden Ships Float?

There are many factors that are working together for making the ship float and not sink, to understand all those factors better we are about to go deep into the study of woods.

The History Of Wood Being Used In Ship Making

Building wooden ships or boats have been an ancient tradition. We can’t expect anything too exotic when we are here to talk about wooden ships. Vikings didn’t have mahogany or teak anywhere near them, but a colossal forest is what they had with different and good crafting materials.

Oak isn’t cheap, but it has been in use for centuries since the beginning of time. It was so precious and expensive once centuries ago that it was only used for the king’s navy. We have also heard in the tales of histories about England taking over the seas for a while. They used a massive amount of oak forests to build their ships.

Tropical Zone

There are past stories about a European ship that was fully loaded, sinking as soon as they reached the tropical zone. The cargo that is loaded and meant for cold and salty seas tend to sink as quickly as they enter the warmer and less salty Seas. Water usually floats on cold, brackish waters because they have more density than the freshwater.

Wood Does Not Mainly Sink, They Float

Commonly the wood that is used for making a ship does not have the property to sink in water. If large forces of waves end up breaking the boat somehow, the rest of the scattered pieces of planks floats, those wooden objects would float and get to some distant shore at some point.

But in a ship it’s only possible that woods are attached with other metal parts to create benches, engines etc. those are mainly the parts that sinks into the water pulling along all the objects that are associated with the heavy metals.

That’s why sailors can hold onto these wooden planks and take support for rescuing themselves by floating.

Centre Part Of The Vessel

We are all clear about the issue that ships are denser than water, right?

Ships are made in such a tricky way that the centre part of the vessel has space inside, which makes the boat float as the making of the ship lets it supersede more water than its weight — reasons why it ends up floating in the first place. Sinking occurs when water enters these hollow spaces and increases the importance of the ship.

How Are Wooden Ships Built?

A berth is somewhere a wooden ship is basically built, the timbers and planking are shaped and cut around them and then put back together on the berth to form the ship’s hull. To discover better forms of full, replicas of wooden shells were created by iron vessels and steel.

Later moderately iron became more effectively useful on its own, so rather than being just a replacement for timber, metal was starting to deliberately being used. The vessel is launched by a gathered area rather than a ship construction site. Which is known as the berth or the slipway.

For increasing the space to build prefabricated sheds, in many shipyards, the amount of berths has been reduced. More ships can be produced and contracted by low cost only if there is an increase in the ease of fabrication, reasons why berths are reduced.

Displacement Tonnage

The volume of water it displaces when it is floating is called the ship’s displacement; it measures in cubic meters.

The weight of the water that displaces when the ship is floating. Having its all stores on board and fuel tank full is called its displacement tonnage. It’s measured in metric tons.

By that, we can figure out that the displacement tonnage is the weight of the ship since when a ship is floating, it supersedes its weight in water.

Conclusion

We hope this article helped you to solve your confusion and help you understand the whole thing better. If you are interested in purchasing a wooden boat or even building one for yourself, we hope you will take all the factors into consideration and also be careful while choosing the right materials for you.