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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Define the property of pressure
  • Define and convert among the units of pressure measurements
  • Describe the operation of common tools for measuring gas pressure
  • Calculate pressure from manometer data

The earth’s atmosphere exerts a pressure, as does any other gas. Although we do not normally notice atmospheric pressure, we are sensitive to pressure changes—for example, when your ears “pop” during take-off and landing while flying, or when you dive underwater. Gas pressure is caused by the force exerted by gas molecules colliding with the surfaces of objects ( [link] ). Although the force of each collision is very small, any surface of appreciable area experiences a large number of collisions in a short time, which can result in a high pressure. In fact, normal air pressure is strong enough to crush a metal container when not balanced by equal pressure from inside the container.

The left side of this figure includes a graphic of the earth with an inverted rectangular prism extending from a point on it. Near the top of the image, the label, “square inch column of air molecules” is connected to the prism with a line segment. This label is also connected with a line segment to a downward pointing arrow at the right side of the figure. Beneath the arrow is a red circle labeled, “atmospheric pressure.” A narrow rectangle with a dashed line border extends from the bottom of the arrow vertically through the circle. Directly beneath this rectangle at the lower edge of the circle is a hand with a thumb appearing to be resting on a tabletop. The thumb is connected with a line segment to the label, “14.7 lbs of pressure on 1 square inch.” The red circle is sitting on top of the thumb.
The atmosphere above us exerts a large pressure on objects at the surface of the earth, roughly equal to the weight of a bowling ball pressing on an area the size of a human thumbnail.

Atmospheric pressure is caused by the weight of the column of air molecules in the atmosphere above an object, such as the tanker car. At sea level, this pressure is roughly the same as that exerted by a full-grown African elephant standing on a doormat, or a typical bowling ball resting on your thumbnail. These may seem like huge amounts, and they are, but life on earth has evolved under such atmospheric pressure. If you actually perch a bowling ball on your thumbnail, the pressure experienced is twice the usual pressure, and the sensation is unpleasant.

In general, pressure    is defined as the force exerted on a given area: P = F A . Note that pressure is directly proportional to force and inversely proportional to area. Thus, pressure can be increased either by increasing the amount of force or by decreasing the area over which it is applied; pressure can be decreased by decreasing the force or increasing the area.

Let’s apply this concept to determine which would be more likely to fall through thin ice in [link] —the elephant or the figure skater? A large African elephant can weigh 7 tons, supported on four feet, each with a diameter of about 1.5 ft (footprint area of 250 in 2 ), so the pressure exerted by each foot is about 14 lb/in 2 :

pressure per elephant foot = 14,000 lb elephant × 1 elephant 4 feet × 1 foot 250 in 2 = 14 lb/in 2

The figure skater weighs about 120 lbs, supported on two skate blades, each with an area of about 2 in 2 , so the pressure exerted by each blade is about 30 lb/in 2 :

pressure per skate blade = 120 lb skater × 1 skater 2 blades × 1 blade 2 in 2 = 30 lb/in 2

Even though the elephant is more than one hundred-times heavier than the skater, it exerts less than one-half of the pressure and would therefore be less likely to fall though thin ice. On the other hand, if the skater removes her skates and stands with bare feet (or regular footwear) on the ice, the larger area over which her weight is applied greatly reduces the pressure exerted:

Questions & Answers

hydrogen is a monovalent why aluminum is a divalent
Naldo Reply
Did you mean trivalent? This is because Aluminium has three electroms orbiting in the valence (furthest shell) which are involved in covalent bonding where each electron becomes a pair with another one in the other non metal and make a single bond. N. B: each single covalent bond contains 2 electr
Electrons, one from each atom. Did you know that god said '' And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur'an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom
... atom's weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater but that it is in a clear register. ''
wat gives perfume it's sweet smell
Olaobaju Reply
These are organic compounds, which have plentiful functional groups which react with certain substances through a pathway in the cells lining nostrils which sends impulses that make you sense its sweet. Did you prophet Muhammad (peace upon him) encourages the use of perfume.
what is it use for
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to love cleanliness and good scent. ... It was highlighted, in many hadiths, his love for fragrance and good scent like musk, 'ud and ambergris.
the types of giant covalent structure
Nobert Reply
define the following terms. electrovalent bonding
 An unknown noble gas was allowed to flow into a 300.0 mL glass bulb until the P = 685 torr. Initially, the glass bulb weighed 32.50 g, but now it weighs 33.94 g. If the temperature is 27.0 °C, what’s the identity of the gas?
Roseline Reply
* Use PV=nRT with correct units to find n (number of moles) * Use n = mass/ Ar (Ar is relative atomic mass) Ar = 131.15 -> Xenon N. B: P is in pascals, V in m3, n in mol, R in J/ k. Mol, T in kelvin *Thank God
N. B: As it is a noble gas it is mono-atomic so the Ar does not need to be divided by two (not diatomic).
what is molecule
Olom Reply
molecules are produced by double atom from example this is hydrogen atom and this is hydrogen2 are call that hydrogen molecules or gass
What is the generic name for the compound
Orisanmi Reply
what is the formular for methane
Tamaranimiweremi Reply
CH4 , it is the simplest alkane
what is the formula for alkaline
I wish to learn to more of chemistry, can someone please teach me.
what is zero gravity
Blessing Reply
every object is that zero gravity
Probably when an object is in space and there are no nearby masses that pull her, and exert gravity
Alright. .good job
And all majesty to God, (وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِی خَلَقَ ٱلَّیۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَۖ كُلࣱّ فِی فَلَكࣲ یَسۡبَحُونَ) [سورة الأنبياء 33 And it is He who created the night and the day and the sun and the moon; all [heavenly bodies] in an orbit are swimming. General theory of relativity in Qur
what is molecule?
what is lattice energy
Getrude Reply
why is CO a neutral oxide and CO2 an acidic oxide
Emmanuel Reply
Because when CO2 dissolves in water forming a weak acid. CO does not dissolve in water as it has strong triple bond.
What is acid
Progress Reply
which donate H+ or accept lone pair of electron
kinetic theory of matter and gas law
Victoria Reply
pls explain
what is clay
Thankgod Reply
material containing clay minerals. Clays develop plasticity when wet, due to a molecular film of water surrounding the clay particles, but become hard, brittle and non–plastic upon drying or firing. Most pure clay minerals are white or light-coloured, but natural clays show a variety of colours
due iron oxide. The four types of clay are Earthenware clay, Stoneware clay, Ball clay, and Porcelain. All of them can be used to make pottery, but the end result would differ a lot thanks to their different textures, colors, and flexibilities.
And do you know that god has created human from clay (وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ مِن صَلۡصَـٰلࣲ مِّنۡ حَمَإࣲ مَّسۡنُونࣲ) [سورة الحجر 26] And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. You can install Quran from paly store for free with translations.
darw a periodic table
Hazard Reply
draw a periodic table
You will arrange the elements into row and coloumns according to increasing proton number. You may want to use symbols or their names. Hydrogen, Helium, etc. God has created all these elements from nothing, in Islam we know God is the creator.
why are you drawing a periodic table? why not just print one from the internet and use as a reference
Great thought
how are you?
Abel Reply
alright , how about you
am fine
your name is Agbo?
my name is amel
l use the email of my husband
Practice Key Terms 9

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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