The short answer is- yes, they can but it depends on how you place them upon the surface of water. They will float if you place them horizontally with the greatest possible area touching the surface of water. However, if you stand them up, like how they are positioned on a vehicle, they are bound to sink.
This question is most likely to be asked by one of three types of people. The first group of people are those who search it out of curiosity and have nothing to gain from it but knowledge. For such academics, a good deal of floaty physics is coming right up.
A second party, those who intend to utilize the floating property of tires for swimming and related activities or simply as swim rings in their home swimming pools, will also be catered to and will be guided on how to use them for such purposes and just how much to expect from a single tire.
For the third group who intend to do some cool stuff and Diy projects, we’ ve included two such great things to try. Recycling and repurposing old tires is one of the best things you could do and it can be done in a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing way.
We have split this article into three sections, each intended to serve the different readers’ interests. Buckle up and enjoy!
Science behind flotation- Why do tires float?
Tires, or for that matter, any object floats only when the upward push by the water is in excess of the weight of the object. This upward push is provided by buoyancy or buoyant force. The greater the area of an object in contact with the water surface, the greater the buoyant force. In practice, the highest possible area in contact with the water surface can only be achieved when the tire is lying flat which is the only position in which the tire will stay afloat indefinitely. If you try to stand the tire up, the surface area in contact with the water is dramatically decreased, thus rendering the weight of the tire greater than the available upward push. Almost all tires will sink in the erect position while all of the tires will continue to float in the lying position forever, until disturbed.
The buoyant force, in turn, stems from the pressure difference between the uppermost and the lowest layer of water. The direction of this force is always in the upwards direction and, like any other force, is measured in Newtons.
Swimming related uses of floating tires
Tires are the go-to option for those who do not intend to invest in purpose-built swim rings. Swim rings are hollow, light, ringed structures made of different materials, usually rubber or PVC and usually filled with air to grant them a good amount of buoyancy. They serve as aids for those who are new to swimming activities or simply taking a dip in the deep waters. They also serve a protective function for kids who are yet to themselves learn how to stay afloat or simply help an adult relax and let go of the continuous effort required to stay afloat.
Tires can take on the role of swim rings but only to a certain extent. Actual swim rings are much lighter and have a much greater buoyancy compared to tires and can manage much more than a tire ever could. For this reason, we recommend the adults not to completely rely on the tires for floating power but deem it absolutely sufficient for kids. Alternatively, you can go with regular swim rings like these awesome ones.
Tires can serve other functions in your pool too. Beautifully colored tires would be an amazing addition to your pool’s boring look. Bigger truck tires can even serve to cordon off a corner of the pool for those relaxed sips of beverages in a cozy environment.
Cool DIY projects for tires:
1. Tire flower pots
You can turn your previous set of tires into a collection of beautiful flower pots. Here’s what to do: fill up the lower portion of a tire with regular garden soil and plant some flowers or anything to your liking… that’s it. Not only will this save you precious bucks which would otherwise be used to purchase flower pots but also will convert your garden from not much to a creative masterpiece. For aesthetic purposes, we highly recommend painting the tires with bright and vivid contrasting colors to further make the flowers pop. These great spray paints are highly recommended for the task. Just have a look at how this turns out:
2. Tire shelves
This is a really simple yet extremely beneficial DIY project. You can create small shelf-life wall hangings from tires but horizontally placing some wooden board of appropriate sizes inside the tire in a shelf like manner and nailing them in place. You can get the wooden boards here.
To add more refinement, definitely paint the tire and the wooden boards with whatever you color you desire. Hanging this creation is an even simpler task. Just hang the inner rim of the tire from any nail in the wall but make sure that the nail will handle the weight as tires can get quite heavy. We recommend going for smaller tires, even motorcycle ones, for this project. These great spray paints are highly recommended for the task.
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