How Can You Measure Air Pressure?

What are the Different Ways to measure Air Pressure? What is Pressure measured in? Does the Phone have a Barometer?
how can you measure air pressure

Have you ever been in a situation when you were traveling at a high speed, going up a mountain, or flying in a plane, and the sensation on the inside of your ears was strange, almost like a pop? Because of our discoveries in scientific research, we now know that this sensation comes from a large amount of air that is pressing down on us from all sides. The force of this downward force is what we refer to as pressure, and there are different ways to measure air pressure. My phone has a barometer and I will tell you how can you measure air pressure in your home.

1. How can You explain Air Pressure to a Child?

The weight of the molecules in the upper layers of the atmosphere leads the air molecules near the earth’s surface to stay much closer to one another than they are in higher altitudes. This is the primary reason why the air molecules near the earth have a higher density.

However, when we climb higher, there is less air pushing down from above, and as a result, the molecules of air are much further apart. When you fly at a high altitude, you will experience pressure in your ears, which is evidence of this. The pressure outside of your body is higher than the pressure inside of your body, so your ears will pop up. Also, check out what are the properties of air?

2. What are the Three Different Ways to measure Air Pressure?

how can you measure air pressure 1

There are three different ways to measure air pressure.

  • Mercury Barometer: This instrument determines the air pressure by monitoring the amount of movement that the mercury experiences within the glass tube.
  • Aneroid Barometer: It is characterized by its tiny size, flexibility, and the presence of a walled and evacuated capsule that flexes in response to varying levels of atmospheric pressure.
  • Barograph: It is a device that plots on a moving chart and the reading is taken from a Barometer.

3. What is Pressure measured in?

The barometer, which measures air pressure, uses the millibar as its unit of measurement. In the metric system, one millibar is equivalent to one hundred pascals, or one thousand dynes per square centimeters. The measurement can be done in Pascals, which is the SI unit for pressure. Also, check out how can you measure temperature?

4. How can You measure Air Pressure?

A barometer hanging on a tree branch
Photo by OSITO on Unsplash

A barometer is an instrument that is used to determine the pressure of the air. A vacuum is one of the essential components of a barometer, and because air pressure is correlated to temperature and rapid changes, it can contribute to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other extreme weather phenomena. A barometer cannot perform its function correctly unless it contains a vacuum as it is one of its most essential components. To know more, check out what does a barometer measure?

5. How can You measure Air Pressure in your Home?

Take a glass of water and take a piece of paper card that can cover the top of the glass. Hold the card on top of the glass with your hand and rotate the glass full of water now slowly remove your hand from the card. surprised? The water stays in the glass, it does not fall, why? How can you measure air pressure? 

The card acts as a rigid membrane between the water and the air pressure in the room pushes up on the card however it does not push down on the water because there’s a vacuum on top of the water. The atmospheric pressure is pushing on the outside of the glass which does not have any impact on the water inside the glass due to the vacuum as explained earlier. The only force that is pushing down the water is its weight but the upward atmospheric pressure easily supports the weight of the water hence they cancel each other and water does not fall. Must read about the 13 different types of compasses.

6. How can You measure Air Pressure with a Barometer?

Take a look at the following points to understand how can you measure air pressure with a barometer:

  • Take a small skin test tube that is approximately one meter in length, fill it with mercury, and then turn it upside down into a pool of mercury.
  • Now what will happen is that the mercury will run out of the tube leaving a vacuum at the top.
  • Gradually, it will only run down as it pushes down the air pressure it has to raise the reservoir of mercury and air pressure resists that, so the air pressure outside is pushing this mercury up the tube towards the vacuum.
  • Therefore, when there is higher pressure, the vacuum column will be pushed up higher, and when there is a lesser pressure, it will fall.

7. Can the Phone measure Pressure?

The phones can measure the pressure in the air. They have the barometer in the form of an application that is compact and easy, and you can take it with you anywhere with ease because it is installed within the device.

8. My Phone has a Barometer; really?

A barometer is built into each of the mobile devices. They do not require any further setup and are simple to operate. As it enhances both the location services and the GPS elevation data, the barometer that’s built into the phone can be quite helpful. Since the debut of Samsung’s Galaxy Collection in 2011, which has barometers built into some models, the feature has persisted in almost all the models. Similarly, when Apple released the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s in 2014, the phone has barometer feature too. (See Why smartphones are so popular?)

9. Does your iPhone have a Barometer?

Barometer Plus - Altimeter

Yes, there is no doubt that the iPhone contains a barometer. This feature not only aids in the process of relocating the device in case it is misplaced, but it also makes the GPS services much more reliable.

For example, Barometer Plus–Altimeter is an app that helps record the barometric pressure and altitude using the in-build feature of a barometric pressure sensor on your device. So, if someone asks, how can you measure air pressure, you can just show your app which uses the pressure sensor. (See How to find House Facing Direction in Google Maps?)

10. How accurate is an iPhone Barometer?

This Barometer Plus – Altimeter app can function up to 30,000 feet with reasonable efficiency and an error of 50 feet (+/-), but beyond that, it is not accurate technically. 

11. Can you sense Air Pressure?

Every second, the pressure of the atmosphere exerts a force on us; are you aware of how much pressure the atmosphere exerts on us? If the weight is equivalent to around 22 kilograms per square inch and approximately 50 pounds per square inch, why aren’t we being crushed by it? It happens so because of the forces that operate within our bodies and cause us to fight against the environment. The pressure inside of our bodies and the pressure outside of our bodies cancel each other out, so we are not crushed by them. (Also read What Instrument is Used to Measure Mass of an Object?)

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