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# Pascal's Principle for AP Physics B

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By McGraw-Hill Professional
Updated on Feb 11, 2011

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:

Fluid Mechanics Practice Problems for AP Physics B & C

When fluid is in a closed container, it exerts a pressure outward on every surface of its container. But what happens when an external force is applied on the container? This is where Pascal's principle comes in.

This principle is most useful for hydraulic systems in machines. For example:

We have an enclosed fluid, so Pascal's principle insists that the pressure applied by the person should also be applied equally to the car. Well, we know what pressure will be necessary to lift the car: Pressure is force/area, or the weight of the car over the area of the car's platform:

P = 10,000 N/25 m2 = 400 Pa (recall that a pascal, Pa, is a newton per m2).

So the person needs to provide an equal pressure. The person's weight is applied over a much smaller area, only 0.3 m2. So set 400 Pa equal to the person's weight divided by 0.3 m2.

Practice problems for these concepts can be found at:

Fluid Mechanics Practice Problems for AP Physics B & C

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