CIE AS Physics (9702) 2019-2021

Revision Notes

5.2.3 Pressure

Pressure

  • Pressure tells us how concentrated a force is, it is defined as the force per unit area

 

Pressure equation, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

Pressure is equal to the force per unit area

 

  • This equation tells us
    • If a force is spread over a large area it will result in a small pressure
    • If it is spread over a small area it will result in a large pressure

Pressure on different areas, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

Different pressure is exerted for the same force on different areas 

 

  • The units of pressure depend on the units of area:
    • If the area is measured in cm2 (and the force in N), then the pressure will be in N/cm2
    • If the area is measured in m2 (and the force in N), then the pressure will be in N/m2
  • Pressure can also be measured in pascals, Pa where 1 Pa is the same as 1 N/m2
  • Pressure, unlike force, is a scalar. Therefore pressure does not have a specific direction

 

U-tube manometer

  • A manometer is an instrument to measure pressure and density of two liquids

U-tube diagrams, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

 

  • In Figure 1: The level of liquid is equal because the atmospheric pressure (Patm) is the same
  • In Figure 2: If the pressure on one side rises, the liquid will be forced down making the liquid in the other limb rise. The difference between the two levels gives the pressure difference between the two ends of the tube
  • In Figure 3: The U-tube now has two different liquids. The density of the blue one is larger than that of the orange one. The pressure at each point is due to the atmospheric pressure plus the weight of the liquid above it

 

Worked example

Worked example - Pressure on cylinder, downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes
Worked example - Pressure on cylinder (2), downloadable AS & A Level Physics revision notes

Exam Tip

The area referred to is the ‘cross-sectional’ area of a 3D object. This is the area of the base that the force is applied on. For a cylinder, this will be a circle.

Author: Ashika

Ashika graduated with a first-class Physics degree from Manchester University and, having worked as a software engineer, focused on Physics education, creating engaging content to help students across all levels. Now an experienced GCSE and A Level Physics and Maths tutor, Ashika helps to grow and improve our Physics resources.
Close

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now
Go to Top