Pressure and its applications in daily life

This article is about pressure and its applications in daily life. Pressure has numerous applications in our daily life. There are various activities we do or perform in our daily life without realizing that pressure has something to do with it.
Before going into numerous daily life examples of the application of pressure let us first understand the term pressure.

What is pressure?

Pressure in layman’s terms is the push on the surface created by one or more forces. So we can say that pressure is an effect the force produces on an object.

How is the pressure measured?

The pressure is measured as the force used divided by the area under which the force is used.

Pressure is defined as the force exerted per unit area

pressure formula

Factors on which the pressure exerted by a body depends

The pressure exerted by one body on another depends on two factors

  1. The magnitude of force applied:
    • Increasing the pressure applied to any object increases the amount of force applied.
    • So, the greater the force greater would be the pressure applied. 
    • The reason this effect happens is that pressure varies directly with force as per our definition.
  2. The area over which force is applied:
    • This area is the area of contact between two objects.
    • You can increase pressure due to the same force by reducing the amount of area over which the force is acting.
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Activity on pressure
  • Hold a sharp pencil between your two fingers and start pressing it from both sides.
  • Notice how you feel on both the fingers. Do you feel pain in any one of your fingers?
  • Notice the finger on which the pencil leaves a deeper mark.
  • The tip of the pencil with a small surface i.e., the pointed end of the pencil area has more effect of force than the head of the pencil with a large surface area.
  • So the tip of the pencil which is sharp leaves a deeper mark on the finger not the head of the pencil.

Application of pressure in daily life

We have two cases when it comes to the application of pressure in daily life

  • Case 1:- Small area resulting in greater pressure
  • Case 2:- Large area resulting in smaller pressure

Few applications of application of pressure in our daily life are

  1. The area of the sharp edge of a knife, scissor, or handsaw is much less than the blunt edge. So, for same total force pressure is more for sharp edges than the blunt ones. Hence sharp knives, scissors, etc, cut more easily than blunt ones.
  2. High heeled shoes sink deeper on soft ground in comparison to flat ones, This is because in high heeled shoes weight is spread over a small area in comparison to flat ones. This results in higher pressure. 
  3. Broad handles in bags and suitcases are provided for comfort. Broad handles have a large area. So, the pressure exerted on the hands and shoulders would be small while carrying the bags and the suitcases.
  4. Trucks carrying heavy loads have more than four tires. More tires in the case of trucks increase the area of contact with the road. This results in reduced pressure on the tires. 
  5. On squeezing the rubber top on the dropper the air is squeezed out. Now when you put the tip of the dropper into the liquid and stop squeezing the top, due to the low pressure inside ink flows inside and fills the void. The ink stays in the dropper due to the lower pressure in the tube than the external atmospheric pressure.    
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Infographic given below lists pressure and its applications in daily life with images so that you can relate to the concept

Pressure and its applications in daily life infographic

Pressure and its applications

Further Reading

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