Problem 6: Irreversible Cartesian Diver

A simple Cartesian diver (e.g. an inverted test tube partially filled with water) is placed in a long vertical tube filled with water. Increasing the pressure in the tube forces the Cartesian diver to sink. When it reaches a certain depth, it never returns to the surface even if the pressure is changed back to its initial value. Investigate this phenomenon and how it depends on relevant parameters.

I. Phenomenon Demonstration

II. Books, Encyclopedia, Discussion and Forum Posts

III. Research Papers

  • Planinsic, G., Kos, M., & Jerman, R. (2003). Two-liquid Cartesian diver. Physics Education, 39(1), 58–64. 
  • Güémez, J. & Fiolhais, Carlos & Fiolhais, M.. (2002). The Cartesian diver and the fold catastrophe. American Journal of Physics – AMER J PHYS. 70. 710-714. 10.1119/1.1477433. 
  • Luca, R. D., & Ganci, S. (2011). A lot of good physics in the Cartesian diver. Physics Education, 46(5), 528–532.
  • Amir, N., & Subramaniam, R. (2007). Making a fun Cartesian diver: a simple project to engage kinaesthetic learners. Physics Education, 42(5), 478–480. 
  • Güémez, J., Fiolhais, C., & Fiolhais, M. (2003). A Demonstration Apparatus for the Cartesian Diver. The Physics Teacher, 41(8), 495–496. 
  • Satterly, J. (1928). A Cartesian Diver Experiment. Nature, 122(3064), 97–97. 
  • Linderstrøm-Lang, K. (1937). Principle of the Cartesian Diver applied to Gasometric Technique. Nature, 140(3533), 108–108.