Friction. Force and motion

Do you know how friction occurs and what determines whether it is greater or lesser?

Online friction simulations help us to better understand the physical fundamentals of friction force and how it acts.

Friction is a resisting force that opposes the relative motion of two objects in contact. It is the result of the interaction between the surfaces of objects and can manifest itself in the form of static friction (when the objects are at rest) or kinetic friction (when the objects are in motion).

Static friction is the force that prevents an object from starting to move when an external force is applied to it. Sufficient force is required to overcome the resistance of static friction and overcome the threshold necessary to initiate motion. Once the object is in motion, kinetic friction acts to oppose the motion and slow it down.

The magnitude of the frictional force depends on several factors, such as the type of surface, roughness, pressure and the coefficient of friction between the materials in contact. The coefficient of friction is a measure of the resistance to relative motion and varies according to the materials involved. For example, the friction between two metal surfaces may be less than the friction between a metal surface and a rubber surface.

Friction can not only be a resisting force, but can also be useful in many applications. For example, the brakes of a vehicle work because of the friction between the brake pads and the disc or drum, allowing the vehicle to stop or slow down. In addition, friction between the tires and the road provides the traction necessary for vehicles to travel safely.

However, friction can also be a source of problems and wear in many situations. For example, friction between the moving parts of a machine can generate heat and wear, requiring the application of lubricants to reduce friction and prolong component life.

Tension and friction force


This simulation is useful to see how is the resistance force generated by friction when pulling a block horizontally? How are the tension and friction forces while the block is still? What would happen if the tension force is greater than the friction force?

Normal and frictional forces


This simulation helps us to see what the resistance force generated by friction is like when pushing a block horizontally? What are the forces of thrust and friction like while the block is still? What would happen if the force of thrust is greater than the force of friction?

Friction lab


Braking distance test track


Friction study


Move the chemistry book and observe what happens.

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