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Ram pressure

In physics, ram pressure is a pressure exerted on a body which is moving through a fluid medium. It causes a strong drag force to be exerted on the body.

For example, a meteor traveling through the Earth's atmosphere produces a shock wave generated by the extremely rapid compression of air in front of the meteoroid. It is primarily this ram pressure (rather than friction) which heats the air which in turn heats the meteoroid as it flows around it.[1]

In the case of a galaxy moving through the intergalactic gas, the ram pressure is capable of stripping the galaxy of much of its interstellar gas.[2]

The ram pressure increases when the velocity increases. For example, when you are in a windy place, you feel a force on your body from the wind. The stronger (faster) the wind, the greater the force you feel.


  1. ^ Plait, p.1
  2. ^ Grebel, Gallagher, Harbeck, pp.1-15


  • Grebel, Gallagher, Harbeck (2003) The Progenitors of Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies retrieved Nov. 2007
  • Plait, Philip (2002) Meteors are heated by friction as they pass through the atmosphere. re-retrieved Nov. 2007
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ram_pressure". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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