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Could we still use Newtonian mechanics in a frictionless world?

share|cite|improve this question, what are you actually asking here? It's not quite clear to me what your question really is. – David Z Oct 2 '11 at 19:31
@DavidZaslavsky noted.. I edited the question so that it actually is a question. Sorry about that... – akshaykarthik Oct 2 '11 at 19:34
OK, thanks, that helps a bit. The thing is, though, asking for similarities and differences is still a little vague. I suspect that you have something more specific in mind, and it would probably make a better question if you focus on that. Perhaps we could hash this out in Physics Chat. – David Z Oct 2 '11 at 19:38
Sure... I posted the question on physics chat. – akshaykarthik Oct 2 '11 at 19:51

Yes, we most definitely could. In fact, in a frictionless world, the law of inertia (in the absence of external forces, objects in motion stay in uniform motion, and objects in rest stay at rest) would be even more apparent than it is in our world, and Newtonian mechanics would be that much clearer and more apparent.

There is nothing in Newton's fundamental laws that requires friction to exist--it is just a particular example of a particular force.

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in fact friction less world is an idealistic Newtonian world... – Vineet Menon Oct 3 '11 at 6:04

Yes; in fact, the only difference you would see in your Newtonian analysis would be the absence of frictional force vectors (contact friction, drag, etc.) where they would previously have appeared.

In general, you can consider Newtonian Mechanics a useful model for "garden variety" dynamics problems so long as you aren't dealing with any extreme circumstances (objects traveling at a significant fraction of the speed of light, distances approaching the Planck length, etc.) that would require you to invoke either relativity or quantum mechanics.

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