Force per unit area.

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52
votes
12answers
16k views

How long a straw could Superman use?

To suck water through a straw, you create a partial vacuum in your lungs. Water rises through the straw until the pressure in the straw at the water level equals atmospheric pressure. This ...
50
votes
5answers
18k views

Why does a candle blow out when we blow on it? Our breath is 16% oxygen and only 4% CO2

Don't say that a layer of carbon dioxide covers the flame, because our breath has more oxygen than carbon dioxide. Also, our breath does not cool the flame as it is itself warm. So what is happening ...
34
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the energy source if a tall water tank is used to transfer floating objects upwards instead of cables with motors?

Suppose I want to transport some logs from the ground to the roof of a tower. Originally I can use a lift, or some cables, or even move the logs upwards manually; then the energy is converted to the ...
31
votes
7answers
6k views

Is it possible to “cook” pasta at room temperature with low enough pressure?

It is known fact, that boiling point of water decreases by decreasing of pressure. So there is a pressure at which water boils at room temperature. Would it be possible to cook e.g. pasta at room ...
30
votes
5answers
4k views

Why don't things get destroyed by gas molecules flying around?

Gas molecules go at an insane velocity, and though they are miniscule, yet there is a LOT of them. Of course, because of all these molecules hurtling around, there is air pressure; yet if you envision ...
30
votes
10answers
26k views

Does car tire pressure change with weight of car load?

Does tire pressure measured by a meter on tire gauge change with load? (I am not interested in pressure produced by car tires onto the road). Car spec usually says "inflate to 220kPa normal load, ...
29
votes
5answers
731 views

Are bubbles in ice at a lower or higher pressure than atmospheric pressure?

When water phase-transitions into ice it expands. The water usually contains dissolved air. Freezing forces the air out of the solution into bubbles. Are these bubbles at a lower or higher pressure ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

How can fast moving particles gain energy from slow moving ones?

Imagine a large diameter piston filled with water connected to a small funnel. When you press on the piston slowly but with considerable force the water will move very quickly from the funnel in form ...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

Is a bomb's shockwave strong enough to kill? [closed]

I'm watching a movie, The Hurt Locker, and the first scene shows an IED explosion which kills a soldier. Of course movies don't depict explosions with maximum realism, but I noticed the debris and ...
26
votes
4answers
2k views

Why can you “suck in” cooked spaghetti?

We all know that there is no "sucking", only pushing. So how are cooked spaghetti pushed into your mouth? The air pressure applies orthogonal on the spaghetti surface. Where does the component ...
24
votes
17answers
9k views

Doesn't a box holding a vacuum weigh the same as a box full of air?

This was recently brought up, and I haven't been able to conclude a solid answer. Let's say we have two identical boxes (A and B...
23
votes
4answers
11k views

Why is the pressure inside a soap bubble higher than outside?

Apparently, the air inside a soap bubble is under higher pressure than the surrounding air. This is for instance apparent in the sound bubbles make when they burst. Why is the pressure inside the ...
19
votes
2answers
9k views

Why is stress a tensor quantity?

Why is stress a tensor quantity? Why is pressure not a tensor? According to what I know pressure is an internal force whereas stress is external so how are both quantities not tensors? I am ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

How is hydrostatic pressure overcome when a star is formed?

If stars are formed by the collapse of dust clouds under gravity, how is the pressure of the dust cloud overcome? As more material gathers together, gravity will increase, but pressure will also ...
17
votes
5answers
15k views

Why does my refrigerator door resist opening?

After closing my refrigerator's door I noticed that it's much harder to reopen it immediately, as if there's an underpressure. Only after a minute or so it opens normally. How can this be explained?
16
votes
3answers
855 views

Swimming in a ball of water in space

What would I feel if I went swimming in a ball of water in space? Would I feel greater pressure as I went deeper into the sphere? What would it be like to swim in something like that? Also, let's say ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do bubbles make a sound?

I have an understanding of how bubbles work. They encapsulate air (or other fluids) in a membrane caused by surface tension. When they pop, there is often a sound. Sound is a type of energy, kinetic ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Pool in a submarine

A common theme in aquatic science fiction is the submarine pool/access to the ocean. That terrible TV show Seaquest had it, The Deep & Deep Blue Sea (Samuel L Jackson is standing in front of it ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Why don't I feel pressure on my body when swimming under water?

If I put a couple of lead bricks on my foot, there would be a definite sensation of a heavy, perhaps even painful, force. Calculating the pressure for $20 kg$ of lead over a $100 cm^2$ area of my foot,...
15
votes
4answers
6k views

Why can't CO$_2$ mix back with the liquid after a soda bottle has been shaken?

If you shake a soda bottle before opening it, and then open it, you get the fizz. That is the compressed CO2 releasing to the atmosphere which is at comparatively low pressure value. Two questions (...
14
votes
5answers
19k views

If I take a bottle of air into space, and open it, where does it go?

It seems to me that space doesn't have any/much air, and if my bottle is full of air, when I open it, where does the air go?
14
votes
9answers
4k views

How to emulate 40ft (12 m) of water? [closed]

I am part of an underwater robotics team, and our next year's challenge requires us to compete at a depth of 40ft. We don't have any pools nearby to test in, so I want to emulate this 40ft of pressure ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there limits for the speed of sound? A maximum or a minimum only?

The speed of sound in materials of various states of matter differs a lot. But does it have fundamental limits? Is there a maximal possible speed of sound? Is there a minimal possible speed of ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does my fireplace shoot flames out the front until I open my backdoor?

I have a natural gas fireplace with fake logs in it. I open the flue, turn on the gas for a couple seconds, and throw a match in. The flames kind of go up and out of the flue, but most of the flames ...
13
votes
2answers
464 views

Definition of stress at the microscale

Take, for simplicity, a Lennard-Jones fluid below the critical temperature, which is to say that there is a phase separation into fluid and gas and thus an interface is formed. The macroscale picture ...
13
votes
4answers
255 views

How quickly should a fluid come to hydrostatic equilibrium?

Let's say I'm holding a one-liter water bottle, full of water, which I then drop. Before dropping the water bottle, the equilibrium is for there to be a pressure gradient in the water canceling the ...
12
votes
11answers
60k views

Why does the gas get cold when I spray it?

When you spray gas from a compressed spray, the gas gets very cold, even though, the compressed spray is in the room temperature. I think, when it goes from high pressure to lower one, it gets cold, ...
12
votes
5answers
12k views

Why does my door shut faster when the window is open?

I've noticed that if I shut my door when the window is open in a room, the door will tend to shut faster. If I shut the door when the window is closed with a normal force it will not fully close as if ...
11
votes
3answers
22k views

What is meant by Vacuum?

What is the exact meaning of the word vacuum? Is it just a state of very low pressure or is it nothingness (as in there is nothing)? Also, when we say space is vacuum - it must be referring to ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What would actually happen to a person jettisoned into space?

Alright, so we have all seen the movies where someone gets blasted out of the airlock on their starship, or their suit decompresses while on a space walk. The poor schmoe usually either decompresses ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

How does a steady wind flow generate sound?

When a wind blow through sharp edge, say, edge of a paper, you can see the vibration of the paper and hear the sound. For this type of oscillation, it should be a damped oscillation with external ...
11
votes
5answers
15k views

Why will crushing a partially empty 2-liter bottle keep the soda more fizzy?

One of the curses of 2-liter bottles is that when carbonated beverages are stored in them for long periods (i.e. days between drinks) at least the last liter ends up being flat. However, if after ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How to model/simulate pressures and flows in a network of pipes

I'm having a hard time finding information on how to model/simulate this. I attached a couple files, both of which show an example tank & pump network. It's just nonsense that I made up for this ...
10
votes
6answers
73k views

What is the difference between stress and pressure?

What is the difference between stress and pressure? Are there any intuitive examples that explain the difference between the two? How about an example of when pressure and stress are not equal?
10
votes
2answers
464 views

What if the lid of a pressure cooker was suddenly released?

My dad and I have tried to calculate the strength of the explosion if the lid was suddenly freed. We took some measures: Lid mass: $0.7 \textrm{kg}$ Lid surface: $0.415 \textrm{m}^2$ Internal ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Movie airplanes and suction

Having watched a recent action movie (with zombies in it) I wondered whether the suction from a hole in the airplane's hull would really be able to rip out luggage, persons and even seating benches. ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

When blowing air through a tube, why does it act differently if I press the tube against my mouth, or hold it an inch away?

So I have a tube of wrapping paper. It's at least a couple of feet long and maybe two inches wide. If I press one end of the tube firmly against my mouth and blow, I barely feel warm air come out ...
10
votes
5answers
10k views

What about negative Pressure?

Here is something I see : Let's say the ideal fluid(water here) of density $\rho$ is drawn from a source by a motor and thrown upwards with a velocity $v$. Now we take the power of motor be ...
10
votes
2answers
238 views

How strong is electron degeneracy pressure?

I'm trying to get some specific numbers for electron degeneracy that I can understand, using a concrete example. Take for example this portion of carbon crystal: Exactly how much energy would be ...
10
votes
2answers
207 views

Converting impact speed to pressure magnitude

In explosive safety and stability testing, a drop test is commonly used to determine the sensitivity to impact. In the test, an impactor of known mass is dropped. The initial height varies throughout ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Would you die before reaching the ground?

If you were to jump off a tall building, let's say Burj Khalifa, is it true that the pressure difference would be so strong as to kill you before reaching the ground?
9
votes
1answer
865 views

Why doesn't a bus blow due to internal pressure?

When one travels in a bus, if he's sitting at any window, he will feel that the air is coming inside. If someone is standing at the open door of the bus, he'll also feel that the air is coming inside....
9
votes
3answers
13k views

Why does the water level equalize in a series of tubes?

Say I have a series of tubes (not the internet) looking like this, where w represents water: ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does the aorta spray blood when atmospheric pressure is higher than blood pressure?

Atmospherical pressure is around 760 mmHg, while blood pressure is on average 100 mmHg. Then why do you bleed from cuts, and why does a cut aorta spray blood? The atmosphere should press the blood ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

Gay-Lussac's Law & the Patriots

This may be a question better suited for xkcd what if? section...but here goes: with all the hoopla around the patriots / colts game and allegations of cheating by deflating footballs, I've read/heard ...
9
votes
6answers
952 views

Jumping sewer lid - WHY?

Intro: Few hours ago, there was a storm. We heard some constant banging which couldn't be explained by thundering. Then we found out, it was a sewer lid jumping. Maybe it's normal in other parts of ...
9
votes
4answers
6k views

Effect of water pressure on sinking objects

As I understand, water pressure increases as we go towards bottom of the ocean. So if an object* is thrown into water and it starts sinking with some speed, does the sinking object's acceleration ...
9
votes
2answers
310 views

What is the pressure of a charged gas?

I have $N$ ${\rm H}^+$ gas molecules in a sealed, electrically insulated container. What equation can I use to accurately calculate the pressure of the gas? It seems to me that $PV = nRT$ will not ...
9
votes
1answer
277 views

What happened to this folded paper in a hydraulic press?

The video below apparently shows a man folding an A3 size piece of paper 7 times, putting it under the hydraulic press each time. After 7 folds, on the last press, the paper sort of explodes. What's ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Water under high pressure

If you were to sink a container to the bottom of a deep ocean and seal it there, then bring it up to the surface, would it retain its pressure? The answer for a gas is obviously yes, but what about ...