Difference Between Force and Pressure

Difference Between Force and Pressure

We have all studied physics in our school days. While some of us have moved to other fields but we do come across these terms in our daily life. For example, we experience force when we are travelling in a vehicle in the morning when we go to work. We tend to move forward when the vehicle suddenly stops. We also find the force in the playing arena.

In the seesaw or when we kick a ball or when we are catching something. Similarly, when we apply pressure to a balloon from both sides it bursts. Or, when the machine presses the metal to make it flatter, the pressure comes into play. And, why the cutters have razor thin edges.

Sometimes, we erroneously use the words interchangeably. However, this is not the correct usage of the terms. We felt that everyone should know that there is difference between pressure and force. In this article, we will deal with this topic.

Definition of Force

While talking about the difference between force and pressure, let us first get to know about force. It can be a pull or a push and is always by the impact of two or more objects which tries to change the state of the other object. This means that by force you can stop, slow down or move another object.

It has both a magnitude as well as a direction. In some cases, more than one force may apply on an object. If they are in the same direction, the resultant is added. If they are in opposite direction, then it will be the differential of the two.

Force can be of contact type; like when we are pulling or pushing some object. Or, when we are pushing some thing over the ground, there is friction coming into play, This is also contact force. There is another form of force – non-contact force.; like, the gravitational pull of the earth or the electromagnetic force.

Definition of Pressure

It is because of pressure that machines are able to flatten metal. When we fly in an airplane, there is pressure on the wings to make it move forward. Or, there is pressure when a bullet leaves the gun. So, pressure is force that is acting on some specific area. The force should be applied perpendicular to the said area.

When the force is being exerted on a large area, the pressure is less. But, when it is applied on a small area, the pressure is very high. It is because there is difference in pressure that we can drink using a straw. Hence, we can say that pressure is quite important in our lives. Also, if we put some liquid in a container and close it, the liquid will exert pressure on the walls of the container.

Force vs Pressure Comparison Table

Let us now comprehend what is the difference between force and pressure in a table form.

Basis of Comparison ForcePressure
What it means It comes into play by the contact of two or more bodies and causes one of them to change its state. When force is applied on some area, we say pressure is exerted.
Instrument to measure It is measured by dynamometer It is measured by manometer
What is the standard unit Newton Pascal
Type of quantity It has both a value and a direction. So it is a vector It has value only; hence a scalar

Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Force vs Pressure

We have spoken about in detail about how we can distinguish between force and pressure. Force is caused by the impact of two or more objects that tries to change its state. When we are pulling something, pushing an object, kicking some item, or opening something we are using force.

Pressure comes into play when force is applied vertically on certain area. It can be applied by any type of object. We always talk about atmospheric pressure that is known to us. When we knead we are also applying pressure.

We have now learnt how is pressure different from force. We sincerely hope that now you will be able to comprehend the variance in what the terms mean. We will look forward to your comments and suggestions.