Hydrostatic pressure


  • To describe the change in air and water pressure as a function of depth.
  • To describe the variables that affect pressure.
  • Predicting pressure in different situations.

Virtual experiment 

In the virtual simulation, pressure modeling allows students to investigate pressure under and above water, as well as changes in fluid density, gravity, and container volume.

The figure below shows the functions each button performs.


Part 1: The relationship between water quantity and pressure

Step 1. When you turn on the simulation:

  • Atmospheric pressure is displayed in metric units.
  • Liquid type: water.
  • Water density: 1000 kg/m³.
  • Earth’s gravitational pull: 9.8 m/s².
  • Display a grid showing the depth of the container.

Step 2. Measure the pressure in each part of the water container using a barometer. 

Step 3. Drain some of the water through the faucet located at the bottom of the container. Measure the pressure. 

Step 4. Fill the container with water. Measure the pressure in each part of the container. Compare the values obtained with the results of Step 2 and Step 3.

Part 2: Measuring pressure by changing parameters

Step 5. Turn off the atmospheric pressure and measure the pressure again.

Step 6. Measure the pressure by switching the unit of measurement from metric to atmospheric.

Step 7. Turn the atmospheric pressure back on and try to measure the pressure using the atmospheric unit of measure.

Step 8. Transfer gravity from Earth to Mars. Change the pressure to a metric unit and measure. 

Step 9. Transfer the gravity from Mars to Jupiter. Measure the pressure. 

Part 3: Measuring pressure for gasoline and honey 

Step 10. Change the type of liquid in the simulation from water to gasoline. Measure the pressure. 

Step 11. Repeat steps 3-10, changing the simulation parameters.

Step 12. Change the fluid type from gasoline to honey. Measure the pressure. 

Step 13. Repeat steps 3-10, changing the simulation parameters.

Step 14. Draw conclusions about the effect of the amount of water, gravity, and type of liquid on the pressure based on the simulation results.


The simulation described that the increase in fluid volume and the increase in pressure are directly proportional, and the effect of continental gravity on pressure.