# What are the 5 differences between force and pressure based on their effects and properties?

akindtexan | Certified Educator

Well, first, force and pressure have different units. Force is in units of mass times acceleration like newtons or pounds, and the formula for force is `F=ma`  where m is mass and a is acceleration. Pressure is in units of force and an area, like PSI or atmospheres, and a formula for pressure is `P=F/A`  where F is force and A is area.

Force and pressure are often used for very different things, or in conjunction. For example, to calculate acceleration on a piston, you can use the mass, area, and pressure to get an exact value.

Pressure is exerted by physical objects, while force can be exerted in other ways. For example, a magnetic force can be caused by the movement of a charged particle that is not in contact with the subject.

Pressure is almost always caused by a collection of particles--a canister of air or column of water. In a two-particle system, pressure becomes meaningless as the area is a point. Force is used in two-particle systems.

Gasses do not usually provide force; rather they provide pressure. In some applications, this pressure can be used as a force, like how cylinder pressure provides force to wheels on a car.