Pressure and Force

By 2 August 2014

Pressure is force exerted against a specific area (force per unit area) expressed in pounds per square inch (psi). Pressure can cause an expansion, or resistance to compression, of a fluid that is being squeezed. A fluid is any liquid or gas (vapor). Force is anything that tends to produce or modify (push or pull) motion and is expressed in pounds.

An example of pressure is the air (gas) that fills an automobile tire. As a tire is inflated, more air is squeezed into it than it can hold. The air inside a tire resists the squeezing by pushing outward on the casing of the tire. The outward push of the air is pressure. Equal pressure throughout a confined area is a characteristic of any pressurized fluid. For example, in an inflated tire, the outward push of the air is uniform throughout. If it were not, a tire would be pushed into odd shapes because of its elasticity.