Do softball float

Do Softballs Float? Here’s a Science-Backed Analysis

Softball is undoubtedly a favorite pastime sport for a lot of people. The main objective of this game is the sports ball itself.

The ball has three main components:

  • Center/core
  • Layer of yarn 
  • Leather or synthetic cover

The density of these materials may make the ball stay afloat in water. 

According to the principle of buoyancy, an object will float in a liquid if its density is lower than the displaced water. Similarly, whether a softball will float or sink in the water depends on the law of buoyancy.

The density of the materials, the condition of the liquid, or the atmosphere—everything plays a role in this matter. We will discuss the topic in detail and understand what makes softball float. Let’s know a bit more.

Also, if you are interested in softball weights and details, check out our discussion on whether a softball is heavier than a baseball.

Quick Summary

If the density of the material is lower than the fluid itself, a softball will float. On the other hand, if the density of the ball is higher than the fluid, then the softball will most likely sink. 

Materials Used in Softball 

Let’s know the materials for softball. 

1. Core

The core of the ball is normally made of polyurethane. Sometimes, many manufacturing companies prefer using cork instead.

2. Yarn

Multiple layers of yarn are typically used to wrap around the center.

3. Cover

Talking of the cover, it could be made of either leather or rubber material.

These materials are attached mostly with superglue or cementation.  Lastly, it requires a few stitches. 

Being durable is not the only thing a softball can offer. Besides taking the speedy blows of a bat, the level of seams also gives the softball enough control and distance abilities. 

For serious leagues or tournament play, players often are required to use softball with leather covers. Since leather tends to last longer and is less likely to degrade over time, rubbers are used only for general practice purposes. 

Softball vs. Baseball: Learning Differences 

The table contains the basic differences between a softball and a baseball:

The WeightWeighs between 6.25 and 7.00 ouncesWeighs between 5.00 and 5.25 ounces.
The PitchThe Pitcher throws the ball underhandThe pitcher throws the ball overhand 
The PaceSoftball is quicker
Long ball game
The Game SpeedIt requires a faster reaction from the playersModerate reaction from players
The End GoalCollege is the end of the line for softballPlaying in the big leagues
Softball vs. Baseball (Side-by-Side comparison)

Do Softballs Float? (Explained With Equation)

The density of the softball determines whether the objects will stay afloat or sink into the water. 

Depending on its infrastructure, materials, outer condition, and various other factors, the softball may float in the water. In some cases, they may not.

Archimedes’ principle, the buoyancy rule, helps clarify the physics behind this phenomenon. According to buoyancy, if an object has a lower density than the fluid, it is more likely to stay afloat.

Also, learn: Do Lacrosse Balls Float?

Buoyancy: Law of Archimedes 

Buyoncy principle

According to the principle of Archimedes (rule of buoyancy), when an object floats in a fluid, the buoyant force acting on the object is equal to the object’s weight.

The principle of buoyancy is an upward force in a liquid that resists the weight of an object that is partially or entirely submerged in it.

The weight of the liquid above causes pressure in a liquid column to rise with depth. As a result, a liquid column has more pressure at its bottom than at its top.

Let’s have a clear understanding of this topic with some simple equations.

Buoyant Force (Fb) = ρ × V × where Fb represents the buoyant force in Newtons (N).ρ denotes the density of the fluid in kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³). V is the volume of the fluid displaced by the object in cubic meters (m³).g represents the acceleration due to gravity, approximately 9.8 m/s².

Step-by-Step Calculation Process

To calculate the buoyant force exerted on an object, follow these steps:

Step 1: Find out how dense the liquid that the item is submerged in is. Most of the time, reference materials or experiments may provide this knowledge.

Step 2: Determine or measure the amount of fluid that the item has displaced. Numerous techniques, including detecting the shift in fluid level and using geometric calculations for regular-shaped objects, can be used to ascertain this.

Step 3: To find the buoyant force, multiply the fluid’s density by the volume displaced and the acceleration brought on by gravity.


To demonstrate how to calculate the buoyant force, let’s solve a problem. Assume that a solid iron sphere immersed in water has a density of 7,800 kg/m³.

Step 1: Water Density

Water has a density of around 1,000 kg/m³.

Step 2: Displaced Volume

The formula for calculating the volume of a sphere is V = (4/3) × π × r³.

Assume the sphere has a radius of 0.5 meters. Following the formula’s input, we obtain V = (4/3) × 3.14 × (0.5)³ = 0.524 m³.

Step 3: Do the math

With the following formula, we can now determine the buoyant force: Fb = ρ × V × g.

After making the necessary substitutions, we obtain Fb = 1,000 kg/m³ × 0.523 m³ × 9.8 m/s² = 5,131.93 N.

Consequently, the iron sphere submerged in water is subject to a buoyant force of around 5132 Newtons.

When deciding whether a softball will float in the water, the buoyancy principle describes it all. 

The Science Behind Softball Buoyancy: What Makes Softballs Float?

Softballs float when they are less heavy than the fluid they are in. Since lighter weight implies lesser density, if a softball is lighter in weight, it will float in the water.

The material of a softball also plays a pivotal role in it. If the softball is too big, the chances are greater that it will sink. When made of heavy materials, the density may be higher than the water it displaces. 

In other cases, the temperature of the water also determines a lot in this regard. Warmer water is less dense. Softballs float better in warm water. So, the materials and temperature of the liquid make the softball sink or float in the water. 

Different floating properties of Softball and Baseball

Softball and baseball have different floating characteristics due to their distinct 

  • Size
  • Weight, and 
  • Construction

Compared to baseballs, softballs are usually lighter and bigger, and they float more because they are sometimes constructed with cork or polyurethane cores.

On the other hand, baseballs sink more easily in water because they are denser, smaller, and frequently packed with a rubber or cork core.

Both follow the laws of buoyancy, but they behave differently due to the particular variations in their sizes and composition.

Floating Duration of A Softball 

The time duration of a floating softball depends on several factors. Since softballs are not specifically designed for buoyancy only, the floating duration depends on various elements. 

The condition of a softball can decide its floating duration. A softball in good condition without any cracks and holes is made out of water-resistant materials. 

In this case, the cover of the softball is less porous and can stay afloat for a longer period. But being in the water for a long time may harm the outer condition of a softball and make it waterlogged. 

In addition, a softball’s floating duration can be affected by elements like as the water’s temperature. Because warmer water is less thick than cooler water, the softball’s buoyancy may be impacted.

Moreover, the specific duration of a floating softball may vary depending on different changing factors. It is mainly a sports item that is better kept dry and away from the water. Thus, it’s not a floating device either. 

If you want to observe a long period of buoyant force, try observing a toy duck floating on your bathtub instead. 

Last Thoughts

To put some last words, the flotation of an object is a subject of the buoyancy principle. 

Softballs are generally bigger and weigh more than baseballs. The size naturally contributes to greater density. Greater density causes less floatation. Materials used in its construction also have a role in this matter. Heavier materials make the softball denser.

The condition of the ball, the temperature of the water everything determines the floating duration. Whether a softball will float or sink is a simple matter that takes simple science to understand. Surely it is not rocket science. 

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Behind Best Darn Product is Kevin Pena, a passionate blogger and e-commerce enthusiast based in Atlanta, Georgia. With his finger on the pulse of the ever-growing online marketplace, Kevin is dedicated to sharing his extensive knowledge and genuine enthusiasm for the products and services that shape our modern lives.

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