Air is all around us, is matter and it takes up space. But, did you know that the air around us applies pressure to everything?
It’s called air pressure, and that means air pressure is the force of air particles against a surface. We are constantly surrounded by lots of tiny and invisible air particles. It’s easy to think that air is somewhat light and weightless. In reality, air is a gas that takes up space and has mass, which means it has weight.
Air not only has mass, but this mass exerts pressure as well. The particles of air push in all directions and the force that is exerted is called air pressure. Because our bodies have air inside them, they naturally resist the pressure from the air around us and push back with an equal force. We can visibly see the power of air pressure by making our own drink dispenser.
• Science: Life Sciences; Ecology; Meteorology; Physics
- Carefully make a small hole about half-way up the bottle
- Push the straw through the hole leaving about one third to one half of the straw on the outside of the bottle
- Fill the bottle about three quarters full with water
- Blow up the balloon
- Twist the neck of the balloon and place the clothespin on the twisted portion to seal the air in the balloon
- Carefully place the end of the balloon on the neck of the bottle
- Place a the plastic cup underneath the straw
- When you are ready, carefully remove the clothespin from the balloon and watch as water shoots out of straw into your plastic cup!
- Be careful, the water might shoot out of the straw further than you expect
Air is all around us and applies pressure to everything! It pushes things all over the place. Air is matter and air takes up space. Air pressure is the force of air particles that are pushed against a surface. We are constantly surrounded by lots of tiny and invisible air particles. Air is a gas that takes up space and has mass. This mass exerts pressure on everything else. Even though air is invisible, it still takes up space.
When we added air to the drink dispenser, what happened? The pressure (weight) from the air took up space and forced the water out. From making this drink dispenser, we were able to see how air affects other matter. Air pressure is all around us.
Where else can you see air pressure in action?
- The Nature of Matter: Understanding Our Physical World: The Air We Breathe, stream through Kanopy
- Nucleation Fountain: Science Max. Season 3. Episode 13, stream through Kanopy
Books to Explore
Use your library card to checkout more books or download eBooks and continue learning and exploring:
Physics Lab in the Home by Robert Friedhoffer, Request
My Book of Science Experiments by Nicola Baxter, Request
Big Science for Little People: 52 Activities to Help You & Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science by Lynn Brunelle, Request