Physics Resources for Schools


Part of our everyday lives, the aerosol is packed full of excellent examples of how the physics we learn in the classroom is applied to the products we use on a daily basis. With this in mind, BAMA sponsors an educational resource on aerosols and pressure for the SchoolScience website, It demonstrates how aerosols work, and provides practical examples to help students at Key Stages 3, 4, and 5 to learn about solids, liquids and gases, particle size and evaporation, solutions and suspensions, and pressure.

Written by teachers and experts from the Aerosol Industry, the e-source links into the National Curriculum, and is supported by interactive and animated graphics. Each section includes quiz questions to check the students’ understanding, and the site features a glossary of terms, giving students quick access to the definitions of important words.

The ‘Aerosols and Pressure’ e-source is split into a number of units that are tailored to meet the needs of students aged 11-14, 14-16 and 16-18:

  • What are aerosols? looks closely at the aerosol can; the solution or suspension of the substance we want to spray (the product), the propellant that produces the pressure in the can and acts as a co-solvent, the actuator which opens the valve, the valve which allows the product to be dispensed, and the dip tube which reaches down into the bottom of the can to make sure all of the product can be released.
  • Particle matters, covers Kinetic Theory of Matter, what’s in a solid?, liquid particles, vapour pressure, gas particles, and liquefied gas propellants.
  • Pressure looks at pressure and the two variables of force and area.
  • How do gases behave? explains how gases create pressure, covers atmospheric pressure, and explains how both volume and temperature affect pressure.
  • What’s in an aerosol? shows how product leaves the can, how the valve is made up and works.
  • Thermal effects, a section solely for 16-18 year olds, tells how aerosol cans are tested for leaks, and covers the issue of heat capacity.
  • Electrostatic effects, again only for the 16-18 year olds, uses the aerosol industry as an example of how manufacturers take precautions to avoid fires or explosions; explaining sparks, the breakdown of air, electric fields, and ions.

BAMA has tested the aerosols and pressure e-pages with secondary school teachers and the response was favourable. The teachers felt that the content of the site and the diagrams were a motivating tool for self study and felt the quizzes were especially useful.