There is an experiment we learned from high school that demonstrated how atmosphere pressure worked.
Fill a cup of water and put a cardboard on top of it, then turn it upside-down, the water will not fall out. The explanation said this was because the atmosphere pressure was greater than the water pressure, which holds the water up.
I believed this explanation once, until I found some points that confused me:
1. Is the water pressure in the cup really smaller than the atmosphere pressure?
This is what we have been taught through our life. However, consider an object in the water under sea level, it experiences the pressure from water plus atmosphere pressure. So the water under sea level must be greater than the atmosphere pressure. Even it is contained in a cup, the pressure wouldn't change. Is this True?
I read the webpage which gave the explanation excluding the reason of pressure. If the cup is fully filled, the compressibility of water is much greater than that of the air, also the surface tension of the water keeps the air out of the cup. So the water is held in the cup. This explains the problem. But I still want to ask if the water pressure smaller or greater than the atmosphere pressure in this situation.
2. When the cup is half filled with water, why it still holds?
I saw most of articles or opinions against this. They all agree that the water would not fall only if the cup is entirely filled. But I did the experiment myself, the water stayed still in the cup even it is not fully filled. Actually even with little amount of water, as long as it covers the open of the cup and the cardboard on it, the water stays in the cup.
Even the compressibility of water is much smaller, the air inside the cup provide enough compressibility, how come it still holds?