Pressure Gradient Force

Definition - What does Pressure Gradient Force mean?

Pressure Gradient Force is the relative force that can be calculated when there is a difference in pressures. It is generally directed from high-pressure sites to low-pressure sites. However, it has unequal pressures that produce horizontal forces. It is usually stronger if pressure changes more rapidly and on a more frequent basis. The gradient force may depend on the volume but not the shape or size of the object. It is expressed in force per unit volume and is determined by pressure change upon distance.

Petropedia explains Pressure Gradient Force

The Pressure Gradient Force flows from higher pressure to lower pressure and the process continues until the pressure is equalized. For instance, in the case of atmospheric pressure, the pressure gradient can be balanced by the gravitational force while maintaining the hydrostatic equilibrium. These are generally used in weather forecasting as it shows the difference between the air pressures when comparing the temperature at different locations. It largely depends on the weather situation as the values of Pressure Gradient Force are higher as compared to the values calculated at mid altitudes.

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