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Pressure - Lesson Summary

Thrust acting per unit surface area is called pressure. Thrust is the force acting on an object perpendicular to its surface.

Pressure = Thrust Area .

In SI system, pressure is measured in newton per square metre (N/m2) which is equal to 1 pascal (Pa). For a given force, smaller the area, larger the pressure on the surface. For example, in order to push nails into walls, sharp nails are used, as the area of contact of the nail with the wall is small and more pressure acts on it for a given force.

Like solids, fluids (liquids and gases) also exert pressure. A solid exerts pressure only in the downward direction due its weight, whereas liquids and gases exert pressure in all directions. Hence liquids and gases exert pressure on the walls of their container. Liquids exert equal pressure on all the sides of a container at the same level. The pressure exerted by a liquid increases with the increase in the height of the liquid column. 

The thick blanket of air that covers the earth is termed atmosphere. The pressure exerted by the atmosphere is called atmospheric pressure. The tremendous atmospheric pressure surrounding us is not felt by us because the fluid pressure inside our bodies counter-balances the atmospheric pressure around us. The sticking of a rubber sucker on a wall, rising of a juice in a straw when sucked, and rising of a medicine in a medicine dropper are all due to atmospheric pressure. 


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