Physics of a tank of water (aquarium on a moving vehicle)

In summary, a forum user is planning to convert a school bus into an RV and wants to install a 125 gallon aquarium in it. They are concerned about the aquarium behaving like a solid mass and causing potential hazards in case of a collision. Suggestions are given to use tempered glass, conduct a crash test, secure the tank with straps, and possibly divide the aquarium into smaller tanks connected by hoses.
  • #1
pengyou1
I'm sorry if I am intruding on this forum, but I have a question that requires a knowledge of physics. I am preparing a plan now to convert a school bus into an RV. I have raised tropical fish all of my life and would like to keep doing so. I want to put a 125 aquarium in my RV so that it is perpendicular to the sides. My question: if I keep the tank completely full of water (and fish, gravel, etc) and it is completely covered with no airpockets in the aquarium, will the aquarium behave like a solid mass? I don't want to put baffles in the tank because it would detract from the aesthetic value of the tank, and I am afraid of any sloshing that might occur.
 
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  • #2
:welcome:

Yes it will behave like a solid mad in those conditions. Moor important, it might behave like a 1400 pound lethal projectile in case of a collision. Your plan sounds unsafe to me.
 
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  • #3
anorlunda said:
More important, it might behave like a 1400 pound lethal projectile in case of a collision. Your plan sounds unsafe to me.
Maybe wire some explosive shaped charges to the aquarium and tie them to collision sensors? That way if there is a collision that could launch the aquarium through the bus, it gets blown up so it's just flying water. (Sorry about the fish...)

https://s7d2.scene7.com/is/image/PetSmart/5257038?$sclp-prd-main_large$
5257038?$sclp-prd-main_large$.jpg
 
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  • #4
Start with tempered glass that doesn't break into sharp shards. Then add a crash test. You could probably hire a junk yard to lift and drop a scrap school bus containing a fish tank.

Perhaps easier, ask experienced RV owners about carrying heavy objects at highway speeds.
 
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  • #5
anorlunda said:
Then add a crash test. You could probably hire a junk yard to lift and drop a scrap school bus containing a fish tank.
I think the MythBusters have a consulting buisiness on the side...
 
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  • #6
Consider if emergency breaking at 60 mph in 180 ft you will experience about 0.8g's of acceleration resulting in a tipping force on you tank of about 1000 lbs . So secure it to counteract this force. Keep in mind that there will be a pressure on the forward glass face . This will result in some leakage. What is the area of the front of the tank.. Can the glass face sustain this magnitude of force? Need to know the dimensions of the tank. For safety purposes add a 50% strength factor for the restraining straps.
 
  • #7
BTW, @pengyou1 -- Are your fish small? If so, can you architect your aquarium system to be several smaller tanks that are easier to secure, all connected by clear hoses? I haven't seen an aquarium system like that, but it might be smart for a vehicle-based system to minimize the size of each tank...
 
  • #8
berkeman said:
BTW, @pengyou1 -- Are your fish small? If so, can you architect your aquarium system to be several smaller tanks that are easier to secure, all connected by clear hoses? I haven't seen an aquarium system like that, but it might be smart for a vehicle-based system to minimize the size of each tank...

Brilliant!
 
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Related to Physics of a tank of water (aquarium on a moving vehicle)

1. How does the movement of the vehicle affect the water inside the tank?

The movement of the vehicle causes the water inside the tank to move as well, due to inertia. This means that when the vehicle accelerates, the water will move towards the back of the tank, and when the vehicle decelerates, the water will move towards the front of the tank.

2. What is the impact of the tank's shape on the water's movement?

The shape of the tank can greatly affect the movement of the water. A tall and narrow tank will experience less sloshing (back and forth movement) compared to a short and wide tank. This is because the taller tank has a smaller surface area for the water to slosh against.

3. How does the weight of the tank and water affect the vehicle's performance?

The weight of the tank and water can have a significant impact on the vehicle's performance, especially when it comes to acceleration and fuel efficiency. The heavier the tank and water, the more force is needed to accelerate the vehicle, resulting in lower fuel efficiency.

4. Can the movement of the water inside the tank affect the stability of the vehicle?

Yes, the movement of the water inside the tank can affect the stability of the vehicle. If the water is not evenly distributed in the tank, it can cause the vehicle to tilt to one side, making it less stable. This is why it is important to design tanks with proper baffling systems to minimize the movement of the water.

5. How does the surface tension of the water play a role in the physics of the tank?

Surface tension is the force that causes the surface of a liquid to behave like a thin, elastic skin. In the case of a tank of water on a moving vehicle, surface tension helps to keep the water from sloshing out of the tank. However, if the vehicle's movement is too abrupt, the surface tension may not be strong enough to prevent the water from spilling over the edges of the tank.

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