A video of an elephant being rescued in Jharkhand went viral recently, winning forest officials praise online.
The baby elephant was stuck in a well in Gumla district. After locals alerted the state forest department, officials used a principle from physics to help the animal.
For three hours, the authorities applied the Archimedes Principle, or the ‘upward buoyant force theory’, to bring the elephant out of the well. The rescue team filled the well with water using motorised pipes, after which the struggling elephant floated to the top and was able to climb out through a ramp placed for it.
What is the ‘Archimedes Principle’ that the Jharkhand officials used?
In physics, the Archimedes Principle refers to the law of buoyancy (the ability or tendency of something to float in water or other fluids).
According to the principle, when an object is completely or partially submerged in a fluid, whether gas or liquid, it is acted upon by an upward force (buoyancy) equal to the weight of the fluid it has displaced.
The force acting downward on the object is the weight of the object. The upward force is the one given by the Archimedes Principle. The difference between the two forces is the net force acting on the object.
If the buoyant force is more than the weight, the object rises; if it is less, the object sinks. If the net force is zero, the object remains in place, and neither rises nor sinks.
In the case of the elephant rescued in Jharkhand, the forest officials pumped water into the well so that the elephant could float to the surface.
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The principle is attributed to the mathematician and inventor Archimedes, who lived in Syracuse in ancient Greece during the third century BC. Besides the Archimedes Principle, the scientist is also known for inventing the Archimedes screw, and for proving theorems such as the area of a circle, the surface area of volume and sphere, and the area under a parabola.
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