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Atmospheric Pressure

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What happened to that bottle?

That's one Messed up Bottle

Credit: Andrew Gatt
Source: http://flic.kr/p/wKvqR
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

[Figure1]

Ever wondered why your ears pop when you begin a plane flight?  Why is it sometimes harder to breath when you are higher up?  Why do plastic bottles get crushed when you go up the mountains?  These all are different outcomes, but can be explained simply using one idea.  Let’s explore this idea more using an empty plastic bottles.

Creative Applications

  1. What is the atmospheric pressure at sea level?
  2. What can you tell about the pressure of the bottle at sea level since it’s not crushed?
  3. Go up a mountain (Lake Tahoe, Mount Shasta, etc). Now measure the atmospheric pressure using a barometer.

  4. Come back down the mountain. How does the bottle look now?  
  5. Why is it advised not to travel to high elevations without oxygen tanks or other gear?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Andrew Gatt; Source: http://flic.kr/p/wKvqR; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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