Linda FahlbergStojanovska
Pascals Law is the principle of transmission of fluidpressure
It says that "a pressure exerted anywhere in a confined incompressible fluid is transmitted
equally in all directions throughout the fluid
That is: pressure acts isotropically at a point" (isotropic means equally in all directions)
Here we prove that the pressure at a point M in a static fluid acts equally in all directions.
Start with
static fluid (a fluid at rest so only normal and body (no shear) forces)
a point M in the fluid
Question: What is the pressure at M?
Remember:
 We cannot talk about pressure without a surface.
 A point and a normal vector n
determine a surface S.
 Pressure forces act normal to a surface S and thus in the direction of n
.
Draw an arbitrary unit vector n
to M.
Draw "smaller and smaller nice", flat surfaces S,, S,, S,, each containing M such than n
is
normal to each of S,, S,, S,, at M.
The pressure on each of S,, S,, S,, is F/A so:
i Areaof S
i
i S
S
p
F  
=

\ .
.
Stating i~ means Area of Si 0 . When this happens, the surfaces S
i
 the point M.
o Now, remember that the surfaces S
i
are all normal to n
.
o This means that when Area of Si 0 , the pressure
i S
p goes to a number depending
both on the point M and the vector n
.
o We call this number the pressure p
n,M
with respect to n
at M.
That is,
,
0 i
lim
Areaof S
i
i
S
Areaof S
n M
p
F
 
=

\ .
where
S
F
.
We show that
, , , , x M y n z M M M
p p p p = = = where p
x,M
is the pressure at M with respect to the
positive xaxis, p
y,M
is the pressure at M with respect to the positive yaxis and p
z,M
is
pressure at M with respect to the positive zaxis.
Since these 3 equalities are true for an aribtrary n
Then
co
cos
c
s
os
y ny y
z n
nx x
z z
x
A A
A A n
A A n
A
n
A
A
o = u o = o
o =
o = u o =
u o =
o
o
Let Mx=(0,y,z), that is Mx is the projection of M right onto the yz plane (above right).
Let My=(x,0,z), that is My is the projection of M left onto the xz plane
Let Mz=(x,y,0), that is Mz is the projection of M down onto the xy plane
We will show (1)
, , n M y My
p p = , (2)
, , n M x Mx
p p = and (3)
, , n M z Mz
p p =
Remember that the pressure at M requires A0.
As A0, we have M
x
,M
y
,M
z
M and thus
, , , , x M y n z M M M
p p p p = = = , which was what we
wanted.
1. We show
, , n M y My
p p = . (The projection with respect to y is the "easiest" to see.)
To show
, , n M y My
p p = , we compute the forces in the positive ydirection:
Components of forces in the ydirection coming from all 4 sides of the tetrahedron.
x. Component on xside(back right): F
yx
= 0 (normal to ydirection)
z. Component on zside (bottom )
F
yz
= 0 (normal to ydirection)
y. Component on yside (back left)
F
yy
= p
y,My
Ay
Pascal's Law 3
Linda FahlbergStojanovska
s. Component on surface (top)
F
ys
= purpleA
=  p
n,M
cos(0
ny
)A
=  p
n,M
Ay
Fluid at rest is in equilibrium sum of all forces is 0
F
yx
+ F
yz
+ F
yy
+ F
ys
= 0
0 + 0 + p
y,My
Ay+ 0 + ( p
n,M
Ay) = 0
p
y,My
= p
n,M
2. Analogously
, , n M x Mx
p p =
We include picture since that is the "hardest part".
3. We show that
, , n M z Mz
p p = .
This proof is NOT quite analogous to (1) since we must ALSO consider the body force of gravity.
To show
, , n M y My
p p = , we compute the forces in the positive zdirection:
Components of forces in the zdirection coming from all 4 sides of the tetrahedron.
x. Component on xside(back right): F
zx
= 0 (normal to zdirection)
y. Component on yside (back left):
F
zy
= 0 (normal to zdirection)
z. Component on zside (back)
F
zz
= p
z,Mz
Az weight
weight = density g volume =  pg 1/3 xyz = pg 1/3 2Azz
Notice the EXTRA infintesimal z.
So this term is much smaller than other terms. So we can consider it 0.
s. Component on surface (top)
F
zs
= purpleA
=  p
n,M
cos(0
nz
)A
=  p
n,M
Az
Fluid at rest is in equilibrium sum of all forces is 0
F
zx
+ F
zy
+ F
zz
+ F
zs
= 0
0 + 0+ p
z,Mz
Az 0 + ( p
n,M
Az) = 0
p
z,Mz
= p
n,M
QED
nz
u
, n M
p
M
, n M
p
M
nx
u
ny
u
, n M
p
M