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Overview         (For age - group : Above 16 )

This animated science topic "Pressure" is related to force and area that seem a macroscopic quantity, but pressure in microscopic physical aspect is collision between molecules. pressure exists everywhere, at times we dont even feel it, like the atmospheric pressure on our bodies. To understand pressure we have to look minutely at things --- at molecular level

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Category : Science
Type :
Total animation length
: 45 minutes
Animation type : Advanced

animation contains details about

  • Pressure in every day life- experiencing pressure
  • What is pressure?
  • How atmosphere generates pressure?
  • Experiment to show air generates pressure
  • Why atmospheric pressure decreases with increase in altitude?
  • Understanding concept of pressure - two examples

    more about pressure in explanatory notes

    Atmospheric pressure and climate
    Measurement of atmospheric pressure

as pressure increases the depth due to weight will increase
Pressure as force /area

Application of pressure as shown on a can filled with air

Atmosphere exerts a pressure on us
Application of pressure
Atmosphere exerts a pressure on us

application of pressure - skating is possible due to pressure only

Molecules exert pressure  by collision

Application of pressure - skating is possible due to pressure only
Molecules exert pressure

Atmospheric pressure is due to air in atmosphere exerting pressure on us

weight and pressure

Atmospheric pressure is due to air in atmosphere exerting pressure on us
Weight and pressure
Details of the animation/ movie /software

pressure example a sharp knife cuts easier

Why is it difficult to cut a fruit using a blunt knife? Why drawing pins have flattened heads? On blowing why does a rubber balloon swells? The answers to all these questions are related to the effect of a force applied on a surface. This effect is termed as pressure.

A sharp nail can penetrate a wood but a flat surface cannot

Pressure is the force acting on an unit area of the surface in a direction perpendicular to it.
Pressure =

Perpendicular contact force (Newton N)
surface area of contact (square meter or m2)

The S.I unit of pressure is Pascal( N/m2 )

When the force of one Newton acts on an area of one square meter, the pressure on that surface is said to be one Pascal.

Pressure due to molecules


1.Pressure is directly proportional to force
on same contact area.
2. Pressure is inversely proportional to surface area

i.e. When same force is applied on different areas, greater is the pressure for smaller contact area while smaller is the pressure for larger contact area.
Similarly when different forces are applied on the same surface area, greater the magnitude of force greater is the pressure.

Though force is a vector quantity pressure is a scalar quantity since it is independent of direction.

atmospheric pressure is the molecular pressure

All things on earth are constantly hit by large number of air molecules present on the surface of earth (the envelope of air extends up to 320 miles).
These molecules though invisible have weight and cumulatively exert pressure on all things on earth. The pressure exerted by these air molecules is called as Atmospheric pressure. The atmospheric pressure at a place is the weight of a column of air over a unit area of the earth's surface at that place.

Atmospheric pressure decreases with increase in altitude. This is because the number of air molecules i.e. air density decreases at higher altitudes.

At higher altitudes due to weak gravitational force, the cumulative force exerted by the air molecules on an object decreases and hence atmospheric pressure decreases.

A balloon rising up bursts  as it expands

When a rubber balloon is blown into, it swells in all directions and takes a rounded shape. This happens because as one blows into a balloon, air molecules are injected into it. These molecules while moving randomly around the space collide with the skin of the balloon and thus exert pressure in all directions. This pressure acts perpendicular to the surface and helps the balloon to swell and take a round shape.

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