The story of Archimedes and the discovery of buoyancy is a fascinating tale that has been retold for centuries. Legend has it that Archimedes was tasked by the king to determine if his crown was pure gold or mixed with other less valuable metals. It was while taking a bath when Archimedes noticed that the water level rose as he stepped into the tub. It was at that instant that he had his “Eureka!” moment and realized the principle of buoyancy.
Archimedes discovered this principle when he realized that the water level in his bath rose as he got in, indicating that his body was displacing water and experiencing an upward force. The significance of Archimedes’ discovery cannot be overstated. The principle of buoyancy is used in countless applications today, from ship design to hot air balloons to underwater exploration. It is a fundamental principle of physics that has enabled countless innovations and technological advancements.
Buoyancy is the upward force that a fluid exerts on an object that is partially or completely submerged in it. The amount of buoyancy is determined by the weight of the fluid displaced by the object. Just as Archimedies was able to use the principles of buoyancy to determine that the King’s crown was partially gold and partially silver, at Impossible Metals, we rely on the principle of buoyancy in the collection of Nickel, Cobalt, Copper and Manganese from the ocean floor.
The buoyancy engines integrated into our Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is the key technology that enables both the environmental benefits of our solution and the economic benefits. By not driving on the seafloor and having the AUV glide over the surface, combined with the robotic arms picking up the nodules, we are able to substantially minimize the sediment disruption. We are also able to use this principle of buoyancy to efficiently float the AUVs to the surface allowing for lower cost infrastructure and a scalable production solution and thus improved economics.
It is no wonder that when naming our AUV we chose “Eureka 1.” With Eureka being synonymous with scientific discovery and specifically with the discovery of buoyancy, this vehicle name is a nod to both of these connections.
While we are excited about the potential of the Eureka 1 AUV, we want to make it clear that we will not be following in Archimedes’ footsteps by running naked through the streets in celebration of our success. So, while our AUV may be named after one of the most famous “Eureka!” moments in history, we promise not to take the celebration quite that far.