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Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friction And Its Types
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of two surfaces in
contact or a surface in contact with a fluid (e.g. air on an aircraft or
water in a pipe). It is not a fundamental force, as it is derived from
electromagnetic forces between atoms and electrons, and so
cannot be calculated from first principles, but instead must be
found empirically. When contacting surfaces move relative to each
other, the friction between the two objects converts kinetic energy
into thermal energy, or heat. Friction between solid objects is
often referred to as dry friction or sliding friction and between a
solid and a gas or liquid as fluid friction. Both of these types of friction
are called kinetic friction. Contrary to many popular explanations,
sliding friction is caused not by surface roughness but by chemical
bonding between the surfaces.[1] Surface roughness and contact
area, however, do affect sliding friction for micro- and nano-scale
objects where surface area forces dominate inertial forces.[2]
Internal friction is the motion-resisting force between the surfaces of
the particles making up the substance. Friction should not be
confused with traction. Surface area does not affect friction
significantly, but in traction it is essential.
What is Friction?
Friction is the "evil" of all motion. No matter which direction
something moves in, friction pulls it the other way. Move something
left, friction pulls right. Move something up, friction pulls down. It
appears as if nature has given us friction to stop us from moving
Friction is actually a force that appears whenever two things rub
against each other. Although two objects might look smooth,
microscopically, they're very rough and jagged, as this picture shows:
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As they slide against each other, their contact is anything BUT
smooth. They both kind of grind and drag against each other. This is
where friction comes from.
But friction is not all bad. In fact, it has a lot to do with life as we
know it here on Earth. Without it, we wouldn't be able to walk, sit in a
chair, climb stairs, or use a mouse to surf the web. Everything would
just keep slipping and falling all over the place.
Coulomb friction
Coulomb friction, named after Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, is a
model to describe friction forces. It is described by the equation:
Ff = Fn
Ff is either the force exerted by friction, or, in the case of equality,
the maximum possible magnitude of this force.
is the coefficient of friction, which is an empirical property of the
contacting materials,
Fn is the normal force exerted between the surfaces
For surfaces at rest relative to each other = s, where s is the
coefficient of static friction. This is usually larger than its kinetic
counterpart. The Coulomb friction may take any value from zero up to
Ff, and the direction of the frictional force against a surface is
opposite to the motion that surface would experience in the absence
of friction. Thus, in the static case, the frictional force is exactly what
it must be in order to prevent motion between the surfaces; it
balances the net force tending to cause such motion. In this case,
rather than providing an estimate of the actual frictional force, the
Coulomb approximation provides a threshold value for this force,
above which motion would commence.
For surfaces in relative motion = k, where k is the coefficient of
kinetic friction. The Coulomb friction is equal to Ff, and the frictional
force on each surface is exerted in the direction opposite to its motion
relative to the other surface.
This approximation mathematically follows from the assumptions that
surfaces are in atomically close contact only over a small fraction of
their overall area, that this contact area is proportional to the
normal force (until saturation, which takes place when all area is
in atomic contact), and that frictional force is proportional to the
applied normal force, independently of the contact area (you can see
the experiments on friction from Leonardo Da Vinci). Such reasoning
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aside, however, the approximation is fundamentally an empirical
construction. It is a rule of thumb describing the approximate
outcome of an extremely complicated physical interaction. The
strength of the approximation is its simplicity and versatility though
in general the relationship between normal force and frictional force
is not exactly linear (and so the frictional force is not entirely
independent of the contact area of the surfaces), the Coulomb
approximation is an adequate representation of friction for the
analysis of many physical systems.
Coefficient of friction
The coefficient of friction (also known as the frictional coefficient) is a
dimensionless scalar value which describes the ratio of the force of
friction between two bodies and the force pressing them together.
The coefficient of friction depends on the materials used; for
example, ice on steel has a low coefficient of friction (the two
materials slide past each other easily), while rubber on pavement has
a high coefficient of friction (the materials do not slide past each
other easily). Coefficients of friction range from near zero to greater
than one under good conditions, a tire on concrete may have a
coefficient of friction of 1.7.
When the surfaces are conjoined, Coulomb friction becomes a very
poor approximation (for example, Scotch tape resists sliding even
when there is no normal force, or a negative normal force). In this
case, the frictional force may depend strongly on the area of contact.
Some drag racing tires are adhesive in this way.
The force of friction is always exerted in a direction that opposes
movement (for kinetic friction) or potential movement (for static
friction) between the two surfaces. For example, a curling stone
sliding along the ice experiences a kinetic force slowing it down. For
an example of potential movement, the drive wheels of an
accelerating car experience a frictional force pointing forward; if they
did not, the wheels would spin, and the rubber would slide backwards
along the pavement. Note that it is not the direction of movement of
the vehicle they oppose, it is the direction of (potential) sliding
between tire and road.
The coefficient of friction is an empirical measurement it has to
be measured experimentally, and cannot be found through
calculations. Rougher surfaces tend to have higher effective values.
Most dry materials in combination have friction coefficient values
between 0.3 and 0.6. Values outside this range are rarer, but Teflon,
for example, can have a coefficient as low as 0.04. A value of zero
would mean no friction at all, an elusive property even Magnetic
levitation vehicles have drag. Rubber in contact with other
surfaces can yield friction coefficients from 1.0 to 2.
Static friction
Static friction is a force between two objects that are not moving
relative to each other. For example, static friction can prevent an
object from sliding down a sloped surface. The coefficient of static
friction, typically denoted as s, is usually higher than the coefficient
of kinetic friction. The initial force to get an object moving is often
dominated by static friction.
Another important example of static friction is the force that prevents
a car wheel from slipping as it rolls on the ground. Even though the
wheel is in motion, the patch of the tire in contact with the ground is
stationary relative to the ground, so it is static rather than kinetic
The maximum value of static friction, when motion is impending, is
sometimes referred to as limiting friction,[3] although this term is not
used universally.[4] The value is given by the product of the normal
force and coefficient of static friction.
Static frictional forces from the interlocking of the irregularities of two
surfaces will increase to prevent any relative motion up until some
limit where motion occurs. It is that threshold of motion which is
characterized by the coefficient of static friction. The coefficient of
static friction is typically larger than the coefficient of kinetic
In making a distinction between static and kinetic coefficients of
friction, we are dealing with an aspect of "real world" common
experience with a phenomenon which cannot be simply
characterized. The difference between static and kinetic coefficients
obtained in simple experiments like wooden blocks sliding on wooden
inclines roughly follows the model depicted in the friction plot from
which the illustration above is taken. This difference may arise from
irregularities, surface contaminants, etc. which defy precise
description. When such experiments are carried out with smooth
metal blocks which are carefully cleaned, the difference between
static and kinetic coefficients tends to disappear. When coefficients of
friction are quoted for specific surface combinations are quoted, it is
the kinetic coefficient which is generally quoted since it is the more
reliable number.
Kinetic friction
Kinetic (or dynamic) friction occurs when two objects are moving
relative to each other and rub together (like a sled on the ground).
The coefficient of kinetic friction is typically denoted as k, and is
usually less than the coefficient of static friction.
Examples of kinetic friction:
Sliding friction (also called dry friction) is when two objects are
rubbing against each other. Putting a book flat on a desk and moving
it around is an example of sliding friction.
Fluid friction is the interaction between a solid object and a fluid
(liquid or gas), as the object moves through the fluid. The drag of air
on an airplane or of water on a swimmer are two examples of fluid
friction. This kind of friction is not only due to rubbing, which
generates a force tangent to the surface of the object (such as sliding
friction). It is also due to forces that are orthogonal to the surface
of the object. These orthogonal forces significantly (and mainly, if
relative velocity is high enough) contribute to fluid friction. Fluid
friction is the classic name of this force. This name is no longer used
in modern fluid dynamics. Since rubbing is not its only cause, in
modern fluid dynamics the same force is typically referred to as drag
or fluid resistance, while the force component due to rubbing is called
skin friction. Notice that a fluid can in some cases exert, together
with drag, a force orthogonal to the direction of the relative motion of
the object (lift). The net force exerted by a fluid (drag + lift) is called
fluidodynamic force (aerodynamic if the fluid is a gas, or
idrodynamic is the fluid is a liquid).
When two surfaces are moving with respect to one another, the
frictional resistance is almost constant over a wide range of low
speeds, and in the standard model of friction the frictional force is
described by the relationship below. The coefficient is typically less
than the coefficient of static friction, reflecting the common
experience that it is easier to keep something in motion across a
horizontal surface than to start it in motion from rest.
Friction Plot
Static friction resistance will match the applied force up until the
threshold of motion. Then the kinetic frictional resistance stays
about constant. This plot illustrates the standard model of friction.
The above plot, though representing a simplistic view of friction,
agrees fairly well with the results of simple experiments with wooden
blocks on wooden inclines. The experimental procedure described
below equates the vector component of the weight down the incline
to the coefficient of friction times the normal force produced by the
weight on the incline.
Having taken a large number of students through this experiment, I
can report that the coefficient of static friction obtained is almost
always greater than the coefficient of kinetic friction. Typical results
for the woods I have used are 0.4 for the static coefficient and 0.3 for
the kinetic coefficient.
When carefully standardized surfaces are used to measure the
friction coefficients, the difference between static and kinetic
coefficients tends to disappear, indicating that the difference may
have to do with irregular surfaces, impurities, or other factors which
can be frustratingly non-reproducible. To quote a view counter to the
above model of friction:"Many people believe that the friction to be
overcome to get something started (static friction) exceeds the force
required to keep it sliding (sliding friction), but with dry metals it is
very hard to show any difference. The opinion probably arises from
experiences where small bits of oil or lubricant are present, or where
blocks, for example, are supported by springs or other flexible
supports so that they appear to bind." R. P. Feynman, R. P. Leighton,
and M. Sands, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I, p. 12-5,
Addison-Wesley, 1964.
Other types of friction
Rolling resistance
Main article: Rolling resistance
Rolling resistance is the force that resists the rolling of a wheel or
other circular objects along a surface. Generally the force of rolling
resistance is less than that associated with kinetic friction.[5] Typical
values for the coefficient of rolling resistance are 0.001.[6] One of
the most common examples of rolling resistance is the movement of
motor vehicle tires on a road, a process which generates heat and
sound as by-products.[7]
Triboelectric effect
Rubbing dissimilar materials against one another can cause a build-
up of electrostatic charge, which can be hazardous if flammable
gases or vapours are present. When the static build-up discharges,
explosions can be caused by ignition of the flammable mixture.
Reducing friction
Devices such as tires, ball bearings, air cushion or roller bearing can
change sliding friction into a much smaller type of rolling friction.
Many thermoplastic materials such as nylon, HDPE and PTFE are
commonly used for low friction bearings. They are especially useful
because the coefficient of friction falls with increasing imposed load.
A common way to reduce friction is by using a lubricant, such as oil,
water, or grease, which is placed between the two surfaces, often
dramatically lessening the coefficient of friction. The science of
friction and lubrication is called tribology. Lubricant technology is
when lubricants are mixed with the application of science, especially
to industrial or commercial objectives.
Superlubricity, a recently-discovered effect, has been observed in
graphite: it is the substantial decrease of friction between two
sliding objects, approaching zero levels. A very small amount of
frictional energy would still be dissipated.
Lubricants to overcome friction need not always be thin, turbulent
fluids or powdery solids such as graphite and talc; acoustic
lubrication actually uses sound as a lubricant.
Energy of friction
According to the law of conservation of energy, no energy is
destroyed due to friction, though it may be lost to the system of
concern. Energy is transformed from other forms into heat. A sliding
hockey puck comes to rest because friction converts its kinetic energy
into heat. Since heat quickly dissipates, many early philosophers,
including Aristotle, wrongly concluded that moving objects lose
energy without a driving force.
When an object is pushed along a surface, the energy converted to
heat is given by:
Fn is the normal force,
k is the coefficient of kinetic friction,
x is the coordinate along which the object transverses.
Physical wear is associated with friction. While this can be beneficial,
as in polishing, it is often a problem. As materials are worn away,
fit and finish of a object can degrade until it no longer functions
Work of friction
In the reference frame of the interface between two surfaces, static
friction always does no work, because there is never any
displacement. In the same reference frame, kinetic friction is always
in the direction opposite the motion and so does negative work.[9]
However, friction can do positive work in certain inertial frames of
reference. One can see this by placing a heavy box on a rug, then
pulling on the rug quickly. In this case, the box slides backwards
relative to the rug, but moves forward relative to the floor, an inertial
frame of reference. Thus, the kinetic friction between the box and rug
accelerates the box in the same direction that the box moves, doing
positive work.[10]
The work done by friction can translate into deformation, wear, and
heat that can affect the contact surface's material properties (and
even the coefficient of friction itself). The work done by friction can
also be used to mix materials such as in the technique of friction
Posted by Miki at 10:15 PM
Post a Comment
Mehdi Shaheen said...
awesome Article.
Today my paper will be about this topic.So really great helpful
for me .Thank u
January 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM
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