Difference Between Force and Pressure

Main Difference

The main difference between force and pressure is that force is an agency that stops or tends to stop, moves or tends to move the motion of a body and pressure is the force acting normally per unit area on the surface of a body.

Force vs. Pressure

Force is defined as the energy applied to an object to change its direction of motion. The pressure is defined as the force being spread over a particular area of an object on which it is acting. International standards measure unit for force is Newton represented by N. The International standards measure unit for pressure is Pascal, represented scientifically as (Pa). Force and pressure are measured by different instruments. Force is measured by an instrument called a dynamometer. The instrument for measuring pressure is known as a manometer. Force is a vector quantity because it has both magnitude and direction. The pressure is a scalar quantity as it has magnitude but no direction. Force, if applied from one direction, can change the velocity of the object. Pressure does not change the object’s velocity. Force acts upon the face, edges, side or vertices of the object. Pressure only acts on the face or surface of the object. Force is the effect caused by the interaction of two objects that tries to change the state of the object. The pressure is the force which acts on to the surface of the object in a perpendicular direction that results in spreading of force over a certain area. If the force is applied over a large area, then the resulting pressure will be low, and if the same force is applied to a small area, then the pressure will be high. Newton’s law measures force, F=m X a. The formula used to find the pressure is P=F/A.

Comparison Chart

ForcePressure
The push and pull action that results in the change of direction and motion and pressureAmount of force that is applied on a surface per unit area
Unit
Newtons (N)Pascals (Pa)
Nature of Quantity
Vector quantityScalar quantity
Instrument
DynamometerManometer
Applied to
Edges, Sides, VerticesFaces, Surfaces

What is Force?

The term ‘force’ means the push or pull caused by the interaction of two objects, that changes or seek to change the state of the object. It is a vector quantity that has both magnitude and direction. Magnitude is the quantity of force. The larger the magnitude will be, the more will be the force applied, and vice versa. In simple words, force is any influence that changes the state of rest or motion of the body. It is the pull or pushes on an object that changes the velocity of the object on which it is applied. If force is applied on an object from one direction with no opposing force, then the object will move. If it is already moving, it will get faster or slower depending upon the direction of the applied force. Force is represented by the magnitude and direction. The great physician Isaac Newton described force in his first law of motion. According to this, a force has to be applied to the body to change the direction of the motion of an object. Force is measured by Newton’s law, F=m X a. “F” stands for force, “m” stands for mass, and “a” stands for acceleration. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. From this, we can describe a force as an interaction which causes acceleration. There are two types of forces: Contact Force and Non-contact Force.

What is Pressure?

The pressure is the amount of force that is applied on any surface per unit area. It is the force that is acting perpendicular to the surface of an object, causing the force to spread over a certain area. Pressure considers that area over which the force is exerted. The pressure is low when force extended to a large area, while the resulting pressure would be high if the same force is stretched to a small area. The pressure is the force produced out of continuous pushing or pressing of an object by some other object. The pressure is explained as the force applied to a unit area. The formula used to find the pressure is P=F/A, where “P” stands for “pressure,” “F” stands for “force,” and “A” stands for “area.” If the force is applied over a large area, then the pressure developed is lower as compared to that of a smaller area. Pascals’ law is the unit of pressure. It is a scalar quantity as it is not dependent upon the direction but magnitude. The surface of the object, which is immersed in a fluid, experiences a pressure due to the weight of the fluid above it. We experience the atmospheric pressure all the time, due to the weight of air above us. Our blood pressure that is exerted from inside the body keeps us from imploding under the atmospheric pressure. The units of atmospheres (atm) are also used to measure pressure sometimes. (1 atm = 101325 Pa).

Key Difference

  1. Force is the energy applied to an object to change its direction of motion, whereas pressure is the force being spread over a particular area of an object on which it is acting.
  2. The instrument to measure force is dynamometer while the instrument that measures pressure is manometer.
  3. International standards measure unit for force is Newton represented by N on the flip side the international standards measure unit for pressure is Pascal, represented scientifically as (Pa).
  4. The pressure is a scalar quantity conversely force is a vector quantity.
  5. Force applied from one direction change the velocity of the object; on the other hand; pressure does not change the velocity of the object.
  6. Force acts upon the face, edges, or side of the object contrarily pressure only acts on the face/surface of the object.

Conclusion

Force and pressure both are physics entities but are different from each other in many ways.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

View all posts by Aimie Carlson