# ch15 - The Big Ideas-Chapter 15(Serway and Beichner Physics...

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The Big Ideas—Chapter 15 (Serway and Beichner, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 5 th Edition) AJM:1/15/01 1 Sections 1 Pressure is a measure of the force per unit area that a fluid exerts on whatever confines it. Note that the pressure at any point within a fluid can be determined from the force per unit area exerted by the fluid in that region on the neighboring portions of the same fluid which are, after all, what confines it! The pressure within a fluid can have different values at different spatial locations (like temperature and density) and is an example of what is called a “scalar field”—“field” because it takes on different values at different spatial locations, “scalar” because it is a scalar quantity (to be contrasted with, for instance, the gravitational field which is a vector field.) Fluid pressure creates a force that is perpendicular to any surface under consideration and away from the fluid that is producing the force.

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