BlogIIT-JEEPascal’s Law and its Applications

Pascal’s Law and its Applications

Pascal’s Law: A French philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal published his Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids, in which he discussed the principles of static fluids. A static fluid is one that is not moving. Whenever a fluid is not flowing, it is said to be in static equilibrium. When the fluid is water, it is said to be in hydrostatic equilibrium. The net force on any part of the fluid in static equilibrium must be zero; otherwise, the fluid will begin to flow. Pascal’s observations, which have since been proven experimentally, lay the groundwork for hydraulics, one of the most significant advances in modern mechanical technology. Pascal discovered that a change in pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted unequally throughout the fluid and to the container’s walls. As a result, we frequently know more about pressure than we do about other physical quantities in fluids. Furthermore, Pascal’s principle implies that the total pressure in a fluid is the sum of all pressures. The fluid at a depth, for example, is affected by the depth of the fluid and the atmospheric pressure.

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    Pascal’s Law and its Applications


    Pascal’s law describes the relationship between pressure and the height of static fluids. A static fluid is said to be a fluid that is not in motion. It is said to be in hydrostatic equilibrium when the fluid is not flowing. The net force on a fluid must be zero for it to be in this type of equilibrium. This law has a wide range of real-world applications. One of the most common applications of this law is hydraulic machines. These systems enable us to create shock absorbers and heavy lifting machines. Pressure is calculated as the ratio of applied force to cross-sectional area. Blaise Pascal’s Treatise on the Equilibrium of Liquids, published in 1653, addressed the principles of static fluids. He discovered that when a fluid is at rest, the pressure is the same at all points if they are all at the same depth.

    Pascal’s Law principle

    Pascal’s principle, as well known as Pascal’s law, is a statement in fluid (gas or liquid) mechanics that a pressure change in one part of a fluid at rest in a closed container is transmitted without loss to every portion fluid and the container walls. Blaise Pascal, a French scientist, was the first to articulate the principle.

    It can be said that the pressure is equal to force divided by the area on which it acts. A pressure exerted on one piston in a hydraulic system causes an equal increase in pressure on another piston in the system, according to Pascal’s principle. If indeed the second piston has ten times the area of the first, the force on the second piston is ten times greater, even if the pressure is the same. Such an effect is exemplified by the hydraulic press, which is based on Pascal’s principle and is used in applications such as hydraulic brakes.

    Pascal as well discovered that the pressure at a point in a fluid at rest is the same in all directions; that is, the pressure is the same on all planes passing through a specific point. This is also referred to as Pascal’s principle or Pascal’s law.

    As per Pascal’s law, any force applied to a confined fluid, regardless of its shape, is transmitted uniformly in all directions throughout the fluid.

    Pascal’s Law formula demonstrates the relationship between pressure, applied force, and area of contact, i.e.

    P = F/A

    F = PA

    Derivation and Proof of Pascals Law

    Consider a right-angled prism of very small dimensions immersed in a fluid with density ‘ρ’. As long as the prism’s overall size is small, all points on the prism can be considered to be of the same depth. As a result of the prism’s uniform depth, the force of gravity, denoted by g, acting on it is the same at all points on the prism. Take into account the prism’s three surfaces ABCD, ABFE, and EFCD.


    AD = BC = ∂s = a

    AE = BF = ∂y = b

    ED = FC = ∂x = c

    AB = EF = ∂z = d

    Let ad, bd, and cd represent the surface areas of these surfaces, respectively. Let P x, P y, P denote the pressure acting on the surfaces ABCD, ABFE, and EFCD.

    A force acting perpendicular to the surface of the prism is observed as a result of the pressure acting on the liquid. Allow Px to apply force F1 to the surface ABCD, P y to apply force F2 to the surface ABFE, and P z to apply force F3 to the surface EFCD.

    The forces F1, F2, and F3 can be calculated as follows:

    F1 = Px × area of ABCD = Px ad

    F2 = Py × area of ABFE = Py bd

    F3 = Pz × area of EFCD = Pz cd

    The gross force acting on the prism due to all of the forces F1, F2, and F3 is zero, keeping the prism in equilibrium.

    It is known that,

    Sin θ= ∂y/ ∂s = b/ a

    Cos θ = ∂x/ ∂s = c/ a


    F1 sin θ = F2

    F1 cos θ = F3

    Therefore, from the equations of F1, F2, and F3

    Px ad (b/ a) = Py bd

    Px ad (c/ a) = Pz cd

    Finally, it can be established that Px = Py and Px = Pz

    This means,

    Px = Py = Pz

    Thus, the principle of fluid-pressure transmission, i.e. Pascal’s law, is demonstrated.

    Applications of Pascal’s Law

    1. Hydraulic Lift

    This has numerous applications in everyday life. Pascal’s law underpins a number of devices, including hydraulic lifts and hydraulic brakes. In all of these devices, fluids are used to transmit pressure. A hydraulic lift consists of two pistons separated by a liquid-filled space. To exert a force F directly on the liquid, a piston with a small cross-section A is used. The pressure P = F/A is transmitted through the liquid to the larger cylinder, which is attached with a larger piston of area B, resulting in an upward force of P × B. As an outcome, the piston can withstand a significant amount of force (large weight of, say, a car or a truck placed on the platform). The platform can be moved up or down by adjusting the force at A. Finally, the applied force has been increased by a factor of B/A, and this factor is the device’s mechanical advantage.

    1. Hydraulic Brake

    Hydraulic brakes in automobiles operate on the same principle. When we apply a small amount of force to the pedal with our foot, the master piston moves within the master cylinder and the pressure created is transmitted through the brake oil to act on a piston with a larger surface area. The piston is then pushed down by a large force, which expands the brake shoes against the brake lining. As a result, a small force on the pedal results in an extremely slowing force on the wheel. An important advantage of the system is that the pressure created by pressing the pedal is distributed equally to all cylinders connected to the four wheels, resulting in equal braking effort on all wheels.

    1. Hydraulic Jack

    This is a closed container that is used to lift cars from the ground for repair and maintenance. It really is made up of a large and a small cylinder that is linked together. When the handle is pressed, the valve closes, causing the small piston to exert force on another liquid to the large cylinder, which then exerts pressure to lift the object via the handle’s continuous up and down movement.

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    Is it possible to apply Pascal’s on solids and gases?

    Pascal's Law primarily applies to incompressible fluids. Although it could be used on gas, it would not be as effective as it would on liquid. It is not possible for solids because fluids help to determine pressure through flow resistance. This is why hydraulic systems such as hydraulic brakes, hydraulic jacks, hydraulic presses, and so on are used for such purposes. One common type can be found in automotive repair shops that have a lift and apply air pressure to the top of the oil container. This causes the oil to exert pressure on the pistol, causing it to lift the car. However, if a solid object is dropped into a fluid within an enclosed container, the solid object will feel pressure when force is applied to it.

    What is the principle of Pascal’s Law?

    According to Pascal's law, pressure applied to an enclosed fluid is transmitted without change in magnitude to every point of the fluid and the container's walls. At any point in the fluid, the pressure is equal in all directions.

    What is the application of Pascal’s Law?

    The hydraulic lift operates on the basis of Pascal's Law.

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