Problem 16 Explain why the interior of an a... [FREE SOLUTION] (2024)

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Chapter 12: Problem 16

Explain why the interior of an airplane is pressurized when flying at highaltitude. If a hole were punctured in an exterior wall, what would happen tothe air pressure inside the plane?

Short Answer

Expert verified

The airplane cabin is pressurized to ensure sufficient oxygen for passengers at high altitudes. A hole in the exterior wall would cause rapid decompression, lowering the cabin's air pressure.

Step by step solution


Understanding Air Pressure

At high altitudes, the air pressure is significantly lower than at ground level. This low pressure cannot support human life because it does not provide enough oxygen for passengers and crew to breathe comfortably.


Pressurizing the Cabin

To ensure the safety and comfort of those on board, the airplane cabin is pressurized. This means the aircraft's systems maintain a higher air pressure inside the cabin, similar to air pressure at lower altitudes, which provides sufficient oxygen.


Consequences of a Puncture

If a hole were punctured in the exterior wall of the airplane, the pressurized air inside would rush out through the hole in an attempt to equalize the pressure with the outside lower-pressure environment. This rapid loss of pressure is called decompression.


Equalizing Pressure

Due to this decompression, the air pressure inside the cabin would drop, making it difficult for passengers and crew to breathe without supplemental oxygen masks.

Key Concepts

These are the key concepts you need to understand to accurately answer the question.

Air Pressure

At high altitudes, the outside air pressure is much lower than it is at sea level. This low pressure is not sufficient to support human life because it doesn't provide enough oxygen for our bodies. Without adequate air pressure, our bodies can't take in the oxygen we need to function properly. To give you an idea, the air pressure at 35,000 feet (common cruising altitude for airplanes) is less than a quarter of what it is at sea level. This drastic difference is why cabine pressurization is essential. It ensures that the environment inside the airplane remains at a pressure level comparable to what you would experience at around 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, making it more suitable for breathing.


Decompression is what happens when there is a sudden drop in air pressure within the airplane cabin. It can be caused by a puncture or any other breach in the aircraft's exterior. In the event of decompression, the pressurized air inside the cabin rapidly escapes through the puncture. This rush of air moves toward the lower pressure outside the airplane in an attempt to equalize the pressures. This results in a sudden and dramatic change in the cabin environment. Cabin decompression is dangerous because the decrease in air pressure makes it difficult for passengers and crew members to breathe, necessitating the use of oxygen masks.

Cabin Safety

Ensuring cabin safety is critical during a flight. Airplanes are designed with multiple safety features to handle possible decompression events. These features include oxygen masks that drop automatically in front of passengers and crew when sensors detect a significant drop in cabin pressure. Additionally, the plane's structure is built to withstand such pressure changes. Pilots are trained to descend the aircraft to a lower altitude where normal air pressure is present, allowing passengers to breathe without supplemental oxygen. Regular maintenance and rigorous safety checks are performed on airplanes to minimize the risk of cabin breaches that could lead to decompression.

Oxygen Levels

One of the main reasons for pressurizing airplane cabins is to maintain safe oxygen levels. Humans need a certain amount of oxygen to survive and function normally. This is why at high altitudes, where oxygen levels are lower, the air inside the cabin is pressurized. In the event of decompression, supplemental oxygen masks provide an immediate supply of oxygen. These masks deliver a higher concentration of oxygen than what is available in the surrounding air, ensuring that passengers and crew can breathe sufficiently until the aircraft descends to a safer altitude. Maintaining proper oxygen levels is crucial for preventing hypoxia, a condition caused by insufficient oxygen that can impair cognitive and physical functions.

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Problem 16 Explain why the interior of an a... [FREE SOLUTION] (3)

Most popular questions from this chapter

In order to drink a milk shake through a straw, how must the air pressureinside the straw change, compared with the air pressure outside the straw?Explain why wearing snowshoes makes it easier to walk over deep, soft snow.How does the buoyant force on the boat change if the boat is loaded so that itfloats lower in the water?The pressure inside the fluid of a hydraulic system is increased by 1,000 Pa.What is the increase in the force exerted on a piston that has an area of\(0.05 \mathrm{m}^{2} ?\)Which statement is TRUE? A. The contact area between the board and the nail tip is large. B. The contact area between the nail tip and the board is greater than thecontact area between the nail head and the hammer head. C. The nail exerts no pressure on the board because its weight is so small. D. The pressure exerted by the nail is large because the contact area betweenthe nail tip and the board is small.
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Problem 16 Explain why the interior of an a... [FREE SOLUTION] (2024)


Why is it important to know the concentration of a solution? ›

In chemistry, the concentration of a solution is the quantity of a solute that is contained in a particular quantity of solvent or solution. Knowing the concentration of solutes is important in controlling the stoichiometry of reactants for solution reactions.

What are the three factors that affect the solubility of a solution? ›

Posted April 18, 2022. Solubility is affected by 4 factors – temperature, pressure, polarity, and molecular size. Solubility increases with temperature for most solids dissolved in liquid water. This is because higher temperatures increase the vibration or kinetic energy of the solute molecules.

What is the appearance of a saturated solution? ›

A saturated solution is prepared by continuously adding solute to the solution until a stage is reached where the solute appears as a solid precipitate or as crystals to form a highly saturated solution.

Why must the solution be saturated when its solubility is determined? ›

The maximum number of moles of solute that can be dissolved in a given volume of solution represents the solubility of solution. A solution with the maximum possible amount of solute is saturated. Hence a saturated solution must be prepared to determine the solubility of a solute in water, Was this answer helpful?

Why is concentrated solution important? ›

The use of concentrated solutions — especially in the dilute compartment — allows a significant reduction of the internal electrical resistance of the stack, which somehow overcomes the corresponding reduction of the driving force thus resulting in higher power output produced by the RED system (Tedesco et al., 2015b).

What does the concentration of a solution tell you? ›

The concentration of a solution is a measure of the amount of solute that has been dissolved in a given amount of solvent or solution. A concentrated solution is one that has a relatively large amount of dissolved solute.

How do you describe a saturated solution? ›

A saturated solution is a solution that contains the maximum amount of solute that is capable of dissolving. An unsaturated solution is a solution that contains less than the maximum amount of solute that is capable of being dissolved.

Why do solutions become saturated? ›

We know that a saturated solution contains the maximum amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at a given temperature. And this type of solution is reached when no more solute dissolves in the solvent. So, the point at which a solution becomes saturated is when the maximum amount of solute has been dissolved.

How do you know if a solution is saturated? ›

How can you tell if a solution is saturated or unsaturated? If more solute is added and it does not dissolve, then the original solution was saturated. If the added solute dissolves, then the original solution was unsaturated.

Why is saturated solution not always a concentrated solution? ›

Answer: No, a saturated solution is not always a concentrated solution. Although a saturated solution contains the maximum amount of solute that can be dissolved in a solvent at a specific temperature and pressure, its concentration could be low if the maximum solubility is low.

What does the concentration of a saturated solution depend on? ›

The concentration of the saturated solution is a measure of the ability of a given substance to dissolve in the solvent concerned, and is also called simply the solubility of the substance. The solubility in general depends on the temperature.

How do you know when a solution is saturated when looking at a solubility chart? ›

The curved line represents saturation. Below the curve, the solution is unsaturated. Above the curve the solution is supersaturated. This means there is more solute than the solution can hold.

Why is concentration important? ›

Concentration allows you to better use your resources and approach problems more efficiently. When you are concentrating it is less likely that you will miss important information. Staying focused helps you memorise things more easily.

What is the purpose of concentration in chemistry? ›

In chemistry, concentration refers to the amount of a substance in a defined space. Another definition is that concentration is the ratio of solute in a solution to either solvent or total solution. Concentration is usually expressed in terms of mass per unit volume.

Why is concentration important in a reaction? ›

Increasing the concentration of the reactants will increase the frequency of collisions between the two reactants. When collisions occur, they do not always result in a reaction (atoms misaligned or insufficient energy, etc.). Higher concentrations mean more collisions and more opportunities for reaction.

How does concentration affect a solution? ›

Answer: A solution's depends on the amount of solute dissolved in a solvent at a particular temperature. A solution with only a small amount of dissolved solute, such as the salt dissolved in well water, is said to have a low concentration. As more solute is dissolved, the concentration gets higher.


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