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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define pressure.
  • State Pascal's principle.
  • Understand applications of Pascal's principle.
  • Derive relationships between forces in a hydraulic system.

Pressure is defined as force per unit area. Can pressure be increased in a fluid by pushing directly on the fluid? Yes, but it is much easier if the fluid is enclosed. The heart, for example, increases blood pressure by pushing directly on the blood in an enclosed system (valves closed in a chamber). If you try to push on a fluid in an open system, such as a river, the fluid flows away. An enclosed fluid cannot flow away, and so pressure is more easily increased by an applied force.

What happens to a pressure in an enclosed fluid? Since atoms in a fluid are free to move about, they transmit the pressure to all parts of the fluid and to the walls of the container. Remarkably, the pressure is transmitted undiminished . This phenomenon is called Pascal's principle , because it was first clearly stated by the French philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662): A change in pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to all portions of the fluid and to the walls of its container.

Pascal's principle

A change in pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to all portions of the fluid and to the walls of its container.

Pascal's principle, an experimentally verified fact, is what makes pressure so important in fluids. Since a change in pressure is transmitted undiminished in an enclosed fluid, we often know more about pressure than other physical quantities in fluids. Moreover, Pascal's principle implies that the total pressure in a fluid is the sum of the pressures from different sources . We shall find this fact—that pressures add—very useful.

Blaise Pascal had an interesting life in that he was home-schooled by his father who removed all of the mathematics textbooks from his house and forbade him to study mathematics until the age of 15. This, of course, raised the boy's curiosity, and by the age of 12, he started to teach himself geometry. Despite this early deprivation, Pascal went on to make major contributions in the mathematical fields of probability theory, number theory, and geometry. He is also well known for being the inventor of the first mechanical digital calculator, in addition to his contributions in the field of fluid statics.

Application of pascal's principle

One of the most important technological applications of Pascal's principle is found in a hydraulic system , which is an enclosed fluid system used to exert forces. The most common hydraulic systems are those that operate car brakes. Let us first consider the simple hydraulic system shown in [link] .

A small force can be converted into a larger force when pressure is transmitted through liquids in different containers with pistons that are connected.
A typical hydraulic system with two fluid-filled cylinders, capped with pistons and connected by a tube called a hydraulic line. A downward force F 1 size 12{F rSub { size 8{1} } } {} on the left piston creates a pressure that is transmitted undiminished to all parts of the enclosed fluid. This results in an upward force F 2 size 12{F rSub { size 8{2} } } {} on the right piston that is larger than F 1 size 12{F rSub { size 8{1} } } {} because the right piston has a larger area.

Questions & Answers

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what happens to the size of charge if the dielectric is changed?
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omega= omega not +alpha t derivation
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u have to derivate it respected to time ...and as w is the angular velocity uu will relace it with "thita × time""
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Jun Reply
ok we can say body is electrically neutral ...conductor this quality is given to most metalls who have free electron in orbital d ...but human doesn't have ...so we re made from insulator or dielectric material ... furthermore, the menirals in our body like k, Fe , cu , zn
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Practice Key Terms 1

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
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