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Pressure (symbol: 'p') is the force per unit area applied to an object in a direction perpendicular to the surface. Gauge pressure is the pressure relative to the local atmospheric or ambient pressure.

The SI unit for pressure is the pascal (Pa), equal to one newton per square metre (Nm-2 or kgm-1s-2). This special name for the unit was added in 1971; before that, pressure in SI was expressed simply as N/m2.

Non-SI measures such as pound per square inch (psi) and bar are used in parts of the world. The cgs unit of pressure is the barye (ba), equal to 1 dyncm-2. Pressure is sometimes expressed in grams-force/cm2, or as kg/cm2 and the like without properly identifying the force units. But using the names kilogram, gram, kilogram-force, or gram-force (or their symbols) as units of force is expressly forbidden in SI. The technical atmosphere (symbol: at) is 1 kgf/cm2. In US Customary units, it is 14.696 psi.

Some meteorologists prefer the hectopascal (hPa) for atmospheric air pressure, which is equivalent to the older unit millibar (mbar). Similar pressures are given in kilopascals (kPa) in most other fields, where the hecto prefix is rarely used. The unit inch of mercury (inHg, see below) is still used in the United States. Oceanographers usually measure underwater pressure in decibars (dbar) because an increase in pressure of 1 dbar is approximately equal to an increase in depth of 1 meter. Scuba divers often use a manometric rule of thumb: the pressure exerted by ten metres depth of water is approximately equal to one atmosphere. Example reading: 1 Pa = 1 N/m2 = 10-5 bar = 10.19710-6 at = 9.869210-6 atm, etc.

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