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Pressure, p

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Definition: Pressure is defined as the force acting normally per unit surface area.

 NB: Normally means: force must be perpendicular (at right angle) to the area of contact. NB: The pressure depends on the force and the area.

(surface area)

The unit is Pascal→ Pa

p=

F

A

P
×
A

Where 1 Pascal is equal to Newton per meter square (

N

m 2

) or Nm -2

  If there is a change in pressure of a liquid or gas it causes it to move (to balance out the difference in pressure).  Pressure is dependent on the volume of the substance.  When a can is normal, the pressure inside is equal to the pressure outside.

1Pa=1 N

2

m

If we rearrange the formula for pressure we get a useful formula for calculating force:

force=pressure×area

F=pA

There are many other units of pressure in everyday use, for example:

  Atmospheres of pressure = number of times a pressure is greater than atmospheric  pressure. mm of mercury = gas pressure read on a mercury barometer  Pounds per square inch, is an old unit still used for stating pressure for car tyres etc.

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

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G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

Pressure3 in Solids

Pascal – Pressure when a force of 1N is acting on a surface area of 1 m 2

Pressure and Force is not the same term.

Pressure is directly proportional to the force but inversely proportional to the area

 pα F 1 pα A

directly proportional

inverse proportionality

Smaller area the greater the force

E.g.: A box with dimension 6 x 4 x 2 with a mass of 48kg. What is the least pressure the box

will exert on the ground?

 F p= A F=mg

¿48kg×10N kg 1

¿480 N

To get the least pressure

1

A

therefore you need the greatest area to get the smallest

pressure. Therefore,

6×4=24

largest force

480

N

24

480

N

480

6×2

12

480 N

480 N

2×4

8

= 60 Pa

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

Therefore, the lowest pressure exerted would be 20 Pa at 6 x 4side

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The Pressure exerted by solids depends on the surface area. It is an inverse relationship.

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

Fluids also exert pressure.

Pressure5 in Fluids

Fluid pressure depends on the following factors:

  Depth Below surface  Density of the fluid

The pressure in a liquid at a certain level is proportional to the height of liquid above that level.

NB: The pressure in a liquid increases with the depth below its surface.

Pressure and Depth

The pressure is caused by the weight of the liquid in the container, at particular depths.

Pressure and Direction:

NB: The pressure in a liquid is equal in all directions at the same depth.

Pressure and Liquid Density

If the pressure is measured at the same depth below the surface of different liquids we find that:

The pressure is proportional to the density of the liquid.

Liquid levels

The liquid pressure depends only on the height of the particular liquid and not on the

shape or width of the tube.

When a liquid is poured into a set of connected tubes of various shapes the liquid flows round the

tubes until all the liquid surfaces are all at the same level. The pressures at the open tops of the

tubes are all the same, being the air pressure. The liquid pressures at the bottom of each tube

must be equal otherwise the liquid would flow to equalize the pressures.

Even though the tubes have different shapes and different cross-sectional areas, for pressures at

the bottom of the tubes to be equal, they require only the same vertical height h of the same

liquid.

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

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• - Pressure does not depend on the shape of the container

• - All points on the same horizontal level in a liquid at rest have the same pressure

• - Pressure acts in all directions

• - Pressure increases with depth

• - Pressure is directly proportional to the density of a liquid

Calculating Pressure in a Liquid

The volume V of the liquid in the column is given by:

volume=base area ×height

V=Ah

The mass m of the liquid of density ρ is given by:

mass=density ×volume

m=ρV

The weight W of the liquid is given by:

W=mg

W=mg=( ρV )g=ρ( Ah)g

The pressure at the base of the liquid column is found from:

Pressure= normal force
area
W
=
A
p= Ahρg
=hρg
A
p=hρg

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

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The pressure below a liquid surface is proportional to

density, ρ of the liquid.

the height h of liquid above and the

The pressure is independent of the area.

NB: the formula does not include any air pressure acting on the surface of a liquid. It gives the

extra pressure in the liquid at a depth h below its surface.

The pressure due to the height of the fluid (liquid and gas) only also called Excess Pressure is

calculated by: P F =P Ex =hρg

(h-height, ρ-rho, g-gravitational acceleration)

P x = P atmospheric + P Ex

Also called Hydrostatic pressure because the fluid is at rest

Proof: P Ex = h ρ g

P= F A

F=mg

ρ=

m

v

since

m=ρv

and

F=ρvg

Then

P= ρ v g

A

But Volume is Area x h

 v=Ah ∴ P= ρ vg A P= ρ Ahg A ∴ P=ρhg

Substitute

v with Ah

The pressure in a fluid is independent of Area (not needed).

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

NB: Pressure is the same at the same horizontal

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NB: Pressure is independent of the shape of the container, provided that it is on the same plain.

Hydraulic Breaking System

Pascal’s Law:

The pressure applied to any point of a fluid in a closed vessel is transmitted equally to every point in the fluid.

The brakes system of a car is an example of the Hydraulic Machine. When a force is applied to a

brake pedal the resulting pressure is transmitted equally throughout the fluid and to other pistons.

The resulting force causes the brake shoes/pads/disc-pads to press against the wheels and the car

slows down.

The incompressibility of a liquid causes pressure to be transmitted equally throughout the fluid.

Hydraulic Machines

• - Hydraulic machines work by using liquids under pressure. They make use of the following properties:

• - Liquids are uncompressible

• - Liquid pressure acts equally in all directions at the same level

• - If pressure is applied to a trapped liquid, the pressure is transmitted to all parts of the liquid

An advantage to this is the ability to magnify a force by using a piston of larger area.

P small piston =P large piston

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

F 1 =

F 2 A 1

A 2

F
9
F 2
1
=
A 1
A
2

F 2 =

F 1 A 2

A 1

A 1 =

F 1 A 2

F 2

A 2 =

F 2 A 1

F 1

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

 10 Pressure due to gases

The pressure of solids and liquids can be attributed to

their weight but the weight of a gas is very

small to compare with that of a solid or a liquid.

Atmosphere is a combination of many gases this causes a weight which causes Atmospheric

Pressure.

Instead we attribute the pressure of gases in a container e.g. Balloon to the collision of the air

molecules with the balloon walls. The molecules of a gas are at constant random motion. As the

molecules move around they strike the walls of the balloon and rebound from it. At each

collision there is a change in momentum, this change in momentum per second results in a

normal force on the inner walls of the balloon. This force acts per unit surface area hence

resulting in a Pressure on the walls of the balloon.

Collision momentum per second normal force acting per unit surface area pressure

 E k = 1 2 mv 2 P=mv

If velocity changes then momentum changes

Second law

F=ma

or

F= A t P

there is a normal force acts per unit area

¿ F A

which creates a pressure

Atmospheric Pressure

The atmospheric pressure is as a result of the weight of all the gases in the atmosphere. As you

go up air gets thinner, density decreases and pressure decreases because

p=h ρ g

Since the pressure of the liquid inside the tube is equal to the pressure in the liquid in the through

which is equal to the atmospheric pressure. Then the height of the liquid inside the tube can be

used to determine the atmospheric pressure.

“U” Tube Manometer

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure

Used to measure the excess gas pressure .i.e. the pressure due to the height

Pressure of the water is equal at the

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same levels of height

Archimedes Principle

This principle states for a body fully or partially immersed in a liquid the up thrust experienced

by the body is equal and opposite to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

The up thrust is the upward force acting on the submerged body caused by the difference in

pressure. Archimedes principle is used to explain why objects float.

The principle of floatation states that a floating body displaces its own weight in the fluid in

which it floats that is;

The weight of fluid displaced = the weight of the object

Up thrust of force = weight of fluid displaced

W >U sink

U >W rising

The density of the fluid depends on whether the object floats or sinks.

Archimedes Principal And Law of Flotation

Archimedes Principle states that the upthrust on an object wholly or partially immersed in a

fluid is equal and opposite to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object.

Law of Flotation states that a floating object displaces its own weight of the fluid in which it is

placed.

G.H.S.

Physics Notes: Pressure