pressure measurement instruments

The field of pressure measurement encompasses myriad variables, from chemistry laboratories with highly calibrated sensors that measure gases down to the nanometer level to massive factories that track fluctuations at industrial levels, allowing us to predictably control these everyday conditions. Pressure measuring is an important part of ensuring safe operations in our working and living environments.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some aspects of measuring pressure technology while touching on pressure measurement unit, methods, primary elements, and instruments.

Here’s the summary:

Let’s start!

Basics of Pressure and Pressure Measurement

What is Pressure?

Pressure is a physical quantity that measures the amount of force applied to an object per unit area. This physical quantity can be created in different ways, including applying force to an object or increasing temperature or density in the surrounding environment. Gravity, air pressure, and other factors can also cause pressure to develop.

How is Pressure Expressed?

You can measure pressure in various units such as pounds per square inch (psi) or pascals (Pa). It depends on the system of pressure measurement being used. Each unit measurement for pressure represents a different amount of force per unit area and is helpful in pressure measuring in different contexts. For example, psi is commonly used to measure tire pressure, while mmHg is often used for blood pressure measurement in medicine.

What Are the 3 Types of Pressure?

The three pressure types are: Absolute vs Gauge vs Differential Pressure

  • Absolute pressure: This is the total pressure exerted by a fluid, including atmospheric pressure. It is measured relative to a perfect vacuum.
  • Gauge pressure: This is the difference between absolute pressure and atmospheric pressure. The pressure of a fluid in relation to the environment is frequently measured in engineering applications.
  • Differential pressure: This is the difference in pressure between two points in a system. It can be used to measure flow rates, filter status, and other variables in industrial processes.

How to Measure Pressure

Measurements of Pressure

pressure measuring three ways

1.Absolute Pressure Measurement

Absolute pressure measurement is a way of measuring the total pressure in a system, which includes atmospheric pressure. This type of measurement starts at 0 Pa, and can measure pressures up to atmospheric and vacuum levels.

Paa (Pascal’s absolute) and psia (pounds per square inch absolute) are units commonly used to express absolute pressure. Absolute measurements are important when studying changes in overall pressure, as they measure the full effect of both atmosphere and force exerted on an object or area.

2.Gauge Pressure Measurement

Gauge pressure measurement is a type of measurement used to quantify a system relative to atmospheric pressure measurement, meaning that it excludes the effects of atmospheric pressure. This type of pressure measurement is often used in situations such as tire and blood pressure measurements, where accurately gauging the amount of force exerted on an area is vital for safety.

Gauge pressure values can be expressed in units like Pascal’s gauge (Pag) or pounds per square inch gauge (psig), depending on the specific requirements of the situation. The use of gauge pressure can help to provide a more precise understanding of how much force is exerted on an area since it removes the fluctuating effects of atmospheric pressure from calculations.

3.Differential Pressure Measurement

Differential Pressure measurement is a process used to measure and control the pressure difference between two points. Measurements of this type are frequently utilized in various applications such as fuel tanks, air compressor systems, and fluid transfer systems. It helps to keep the pressure between two points relative so that it does not exceed safe levels for operation.

Differential Pressure is often measured in terms of Pad (Pascal’s differential) or psid (pounds per square inch differential).

What is the Most Common Pressure Measurement?

The most common measurement of pressure is gauge pressure. In engineering and industrial applications, gauge pressure is commonly utilized to determine fluid pressure in comparison to atmospheric pressure. It is often measured using devices such as bourdon tubes, diaphragm gauges, and strain gauges.

It is crucial to mention that various pressure measurements, such as absolute and differential pressures, may also be utilized based on the particular application and necessities.

What Are the Different Methods of Measuring Pressure?

There are various methods of measuring pressure, including:

Mechanical gauges: These use mechanical elements such as bourdon tubes, diaphragms, or bellows to measure pressure and display it through a pointer on a dial.

Electrical sensors: These convert pressure into an electrical signal that can be measured by an instrument like a voltmeter or oscilloscope.

Vacuum gauges: These measure the difference between atmospheric pressure and vacuum pressure, often using a combination of mechanical and electrical methods.

Manometers: These measure pressure by comparing the height of liquid columns in a U-shaped tube.

Piezoresistive sensors: These use changes in resistance to measure deformation caused by applied stress or force.

Capacitive sensors: These use changes in capacitance to measure deformation caused by applied stress or force.

Optical sensors: These use light to detect deformations caused by pressure changes.

The selection of technique relies on various factors like the precision required, measurement range, and the surroundings in which the measurement is made.

Pressure Measurement Unit & Conversions

What Are the Units of Pressure?

Pascal (Pa): This is the SI unit of pressure named after the French mathematician Blaise Pascal. 1 Pa is equal to 1 Newton per square meter.

Kilopascal (kPa): A Kilopascal equals 1000 Pascals, and is equivalent to a force of 1000 Newtons over an area of one square meter.

Pound per square inch (psi): PSI is an imperial unit commonly used in the United States and other countries that have not adopted metric pressure units. It measures the amount of force exerted on an area of one square inch.

Bar (bar): A bar is a non-SI pressure unit that is commonly used in meteorology and industrial applications. 1 bar is equal to 100,000 Pascals.

Atmosphere (atm): An atmosphere is a unit of the pressure that is approximately equal to the average atmospheric pressure at sea level on Earth, which is about 101,325 Pa or 14.7 psi.

Torr: The torr is a unit of pressure commonly used in vacuum measurements and named after Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli. One torr is equal to 1/760th of standard atmospheric pressure at sea level.

Millimeters of mercury (mmHg): The unit of pressure is often used in medicine as a blood pressure measurement unit and also in vacuum technology as an alternative to torr.

What Are Some Common Units for Pressure and Their Conversions?

The units for pressure can vary depending on the system of measurement being used. Some common units for measuring pressure include:

  • Pascal (Pa)
  • Kilopascal (kPa)
  • Bars (bar)
  • Pound per square inch (psi)
  • Millimeter of mercury (mmHg)
  • Atmosphere (atm)
  • Torr

Pressure Measurement Units Conversion Table

Here’s a table of some common pressure units of measurement and their conversions:

UnitConversion to Pascal (Pa)Conversion from Pascal (Pa)
Pascal (Pa)1 Pa = 1 Pa1 Pa = 1 Pa
Kilopascal (kPa)1 kPa = 1000 Pa1 Pa = 0.001 kPa
Megapascal (MPa)1 MPa = 1,000,000 Pa1 Pa = 0.000001 MPa
Bar (bar)1 bar = 100,000 Pa1 Pa = 0.00001 bar
Pound per square inch (psi)1 psi ≈ 6,894.76 Pa1 Pa ≈0.0001450377 psi
Millimeter of mercury (mmHg)1 mmHg ≈133.3224 Pa1 pa=0.00750062 mmHg
Atmosphere (atm)1 atm ≈101325 Pa1 pa=9.86923E-6 atm
Torr (Torr)1 Torr ≈133.3224 Pa1 pa=0.00750062 Torr

Note that these are approximate conversions and may vary slightly depending on the specific context or application. It’s always important to use the correct units and conversion factors for your particular situation to ensure accurate measurements and calculations.

For more information on the conversion of pressure measurement units, please refer to the Pressure Unit Conversion.

Classification of Pressure Measuring Devices

What is the Instrument for Pressure?

measure pressure by the pressure gauge

There are a variety of precision instruments available for measuring pressure. Pressure transducers and pressure gauges are among the most popular instruments used in many applications.

Pressure transducers use a strain gauge mounted on a diaphragm to measure the pressure of either gas or liquid. The strain gauge measures the deformation of the diaphragm when it is subjected to the effects of gravity, resulting in an electronic signal proportional to the applied pressure.

Pressure gauges use mechanical linkage between an external source and a pointer to measure the pressure at which a medium is applied. These instruments are capable of very accurate readings over their range and sensitivity requirements and can be adjusted for different applications.

Additionally, there are specialized instruments such as manometers that measure differential pressures between two points, as well as other instruments used to measure pressure in physics like vacuum gauges for low pressure measurement or vacuum levels. The choice of instrument depends on the specific application and requirements for accuracy, range, and sensitivity of the measurement.

What Are the Two Basic Types of Pressure Measurement Devices?

Absolute Pressure Measurement Device: These devices measure pressure relative to a perfect vacuum (i.e., absolute zero pressure). Examples include absolute pressure sensors and barometers.

Gauge Pressure Measurement Device: These devices measure pressure relative to atmospheric pressure (i.e., the pressure exerted by the Earth’s atmosphere at sea level). Examples include Bourdon gauges, manometers, and the most common pressure gauges.

In addition to these two basic types, there are also differential pressure measurement device that measures the difference in pressure between two points (such as in flow rate measurements), as well as compound pressure measurement devices that can measure both gauge and absolute pressures simultaneously.


Pressure measurement is an essential part of many industrial and scientific processes. Accurate and reliable pressure measurements are critical for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of machinery, as well as for monitoring and controlling various physical and chemical processes.

There are many types of pressure measuring devices available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The choice of instrument depends on factors such as range, accuracy requirements, environmental conditions, and cost. With ongoing advances in technology, we can expect to see continued improvements in measure pressure capabilities that will enable us to tackle even more complex challenges in the future.

What else would you like to know about pressure measurement? Or have some questions?

Either way, please leave a comment below or contact us.

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