The resistance a surface or object encounters when moving over another.

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62
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5answers
13k views

What does it mean for two objects to “touch”?

If you've ever been annoyingly poked by a geek, you might be familiar with the semi-nerdy obnoxious response of "I'm not actually touching you! The electrons in the atoms of my skin are just ...
35
votes
6answers
5k views

How can the Earth keep spinning with a liquid core?

In regards to the 'conservation of angular momentum' being the explanation of why celestial objects spin... If you fill a ball or any other container with a liquid and try to spin it, you will not ...
35
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are dishwasher washed glasses “squeaky clean”?

They seem to have increased friction after going through a dishwasher. The unpleasant (to me) squeaky feel is probably slip-stick friction exciting resonance in the glassware. But why? What has ...
30
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6answers
1k views

Can I survive a free fall using a ramp and a rope?

Can I survive a free fall by carrying a very light and resistant ramp using a rope? Note: lets assume the ramp is a little bit heavier at the bottom and I am very skilled at making it always land ...
28
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do computers generate heat?

Computers generate heat when they work. Is it a result of information processing or friction (resistance)? Are these just different ways to describe the same thing? Or does some definite part of the ...
25
votes
6answers
8k views

Why does a tire need to be filled with air?

The Mini 4WD's tires aren't full of air, and it can run. Also, the tank doesn't have tires with air. So, the question is: why do real cars on the road need to be filled with air? What is the idea ...
25
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1answer
1k views

Is gecko-like friction Coulombic? What is the highest known Coulombic $\mu_s$ for any combination of surfaces?

Materials with large coefficients of static friction would be cool and useful. Rubber on rough surfaces typically has $\mu_s\sim1-2$. When people talk about examples with very high friction, often ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

What determines the angle of the cushion on a pool table?

If you look at the cushions (bumpers) on a pool table, you'll see that they're not vertical. They're tilted inwards. About 10 years ago, I came across a physics exam in which one of the problems ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Why doesn't a fly fall off the wall?

Pretty simple question, but not an obvious answer at least not to me. I mean you can't just place a dead fly on the wall and expect it to stay there, he will fall off due to gravity. At first I ...
19
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5answers
4k views

Why are a motorcycle's front brakes more effective than back?

I've noticed that when I apply the front brakes on my bike it stops quite quickly. If I apply the back brakes at the same speed, it skids rather than stopping quickly. Why?
19
votes
1answer
278 views

How many molecules rub off when I press a key?

I have a lot of questions below but my overarching questions are: Do surfaces rubbing lightly together always strip molecules off of each other? and How can we model that? Clearly the answer to the ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Does a car consume more fuel when it's raining?

Yesterday my wife asked me that question, and I couldn't answer. Consider a car, in a sunny day, and that is consumes x gallons per mile. Considering that everything is equal, except that it's ...
18
votes
2answers
823 views

How hot does the tip of a pencil get while writing?

When writing with a pencil, there seems to be quite a lot of friction - which seems like it would induce heat. How hot would the tip of a #2 pencil get writing on normal copy paper?
14
votes
5answers
5k views

How fast would someone have to run to travel vertically up a wall?

I am currently doing a physics project on the effects of so-called 'super-speed'. I was wondering how fast you would have to run to vertically travel up a wall? That is, to negate the force of ...
14
votes
2answers
10k views

Why do people recommend wider tyres in car for better road grip?

Tyre companies boast of their wider tires for better grip on road. Also, the F1 cars have broad tires for better grip. But as far as I know Friction does not depend on the surface area of contact ...
13
votes
2answers
434 views

Can we quantize Aristotelian physics?

Aristotelian physics, shorn of whatever the historical Aristotle actually believed, is pretty similar to Newtonian physics. Instead of "An object in motion stays in motion unless acted on by an ...
12
votes
3answers
642 views

What is the physics of a spinning coin?

When we spin a coin on a table, we observe 2 things: It slows down and stops after sometime. It does not stay at just one point on the table but its point of contact with table changes with time. ...
11
votes
2answers
493 views

The secret behind the spinning, asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top?

When you spin an asymmetrically weighted, 2D disk-shaped top, the heavy part actually rises to the top. Why is this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0SZZTBQmEs ...
10
votes
2answers
840 views

Why is the equation for friction so simple?

The general equation for the force of friction (static or kinetic) is $F_f = \mu * F_N$, where $F_f$ is the force of friction and $\mu$ is the coefficient of friction (its value is dependent upon the ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Why are bicycle pedal threads' handedness left on the left and right on the right?

I understand the reason that bicycle pedals are oppositely threaded on either side. What I don't understand is why it works because I'm missing something. Take the right pedal for example. It's ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

Why does a curling rock curl?

In the game of curling, players "curl" a granite "rock" (of precise size and roughly a flattened cylinder) down a "sheet" of ice towards a target; the "rock" will curve in its path in the direction of ...
9
votes
5answers
16k views

Can the coefficient of static friction be less than that of kinetic friction?

I was recently wondering what would happen if the force sliding two surfaces against each other were somehow weaker than kinetic friction but stronger than static friction. Since the sliding force is ...
9
votes
1answer
370 views

What makes a wrist-energized gyroscope rotate faster?

I'm considering a wrist-energized gyroscope, shown below (after my daughter let it fall and it broke open). That one was sold as Roller Ball, but variants are known as Powerball, DynaBee, Dynaball, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How much more efficient is a road bike than a mountain bike? [closed]

What would be a good estimate on the difference of efficiency between a road bike and a mountain bike? A number of links cite all the usual reasons: thinner tires, better aerodynamics... But I'm ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Does ABS shorten stopping distance of a car?

ABS, from German Antiblockiersystem, is a device put in almost every new automobile. The web has lots of explanations about the system, how it works, but I don't understand how it shortens the way of ...
8
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5answers
2k views

On a bicycle, why does my back tyre wear so much more quickly than the front?

This question is cross-posted from Bicycles.SE, but it is really one for those that know a bit about physics. Why does the back tyre of a bicycle wear out quicker than the front tyre? I have my ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Static Friction - Only thing that can accelerate a train?

I'm a computer programmer that never studied physics in school and now it's coming back to bite me a bit in some of the stuff I'm being asked to program. I'm trying to self study some physics and ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Dependence of Friction on Area

Is friction really independent of area? The friction force, $f_s = \mu_s N$. The equation says that friction only depends on the normal force, which is $ N = W = mg$, and nature of sliding surface, ...
8
votes
4answers
19k views

Block on a block problem, with friction

Consider two blocks, one on top of the other on a frictionless table, with masses $m_1$ and $m_2$ respectively. There is appreciable friction between the blocks, with coefficients $\mu_s$ and $\mu_k$ ...
8
votes
4answers
675 views

Is it correct that tires quickly get bald when used at high speed?

In my investigation, tires will quickly get bald if we ride a motorcycle at high speed. Is it correct? How to explain it in physics? Does the friction increase at high speed rotation? Update: The ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

After what speed air friction starts to heat up an object?

I understand that air friction cools off an object at low speeds. For example, if you blow on a spoon of hot soup, it cools off. Or if you swing a hot frying pan in the air, it cools off faster. But ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What determines whether a pool ball will bouce backwards after colliding with another pool ball?

I'm no knowledgeable pool player, but I've noticed that sometimes when the cue ball hits another pool ball, they roll together; and sometimes the cue ball bounces back. And I have a very, very rough ...
7
votes
1answer
895 views

When is the principle of virtual work valid?

The principle of virtual work says that forces of constraint don't do net work under virtual displacements that are consistent with constraints. Goldstein says something I don't understand. He says ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Hydrostatic friction: why do water droplets stay at rest on an inclined glass surface?

Tjis is a non-expert question on a (seemingly simple) text-book topic. The question is about "hydrostatic friction", defined as follows. Consider a drop of water resting on a flat surface. If the ...
7
votes
2answers
6k views

Grip of the train wheels

How do the wheels of a train have sufficient grip on a metal track? I mean both of the surfaces are smooth (and not flexible) and it is okay if there is no inclination, but how about on an inclined ...
6
votes
2answers
979 views

How long will my fridge magnet stay attached to my fridge?

I have a 500 gram neodymium magnet. It is stuck to my fridge. With the constant pull of gravity trying to pull it off how long would it stay attached to fridge? For arguments sake lets say my fridge ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

finding angular velocity and regular velocity when bouncing off a surface with friction

Take the game of pong as a simple example. When you hit the ball with a paddle that has a frictional surface, the ball will spin as well as change direction according to the coefficient of kinetic ...
6
votes
1answer
338 views

The quickest 6-3 play in baseball: to bounce or not to bounce?

What's the quickest way the get the ball (say from shortstop) into the first-baseman's glove, given some fixed initial (throwing) speed? Directly or with one bounce? I'm fairly sure that the answer ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

Distance a curveball travels?

I've seen some discussions regarding the movement of a spinning object, say a curveball. However, all have been largely qualitative. I was wondering if anyone has seen or worked through a ...
5
votes
5answers
620 views

Forces other than the fundamental interactions, e.g. friction

Forgive me for the silly question, but I just don't get it. I just completed an elementary course in mechanics, and I am curious to know what I am about to ask. We have, all year, dealt with many ...
5
votes
5answers
474 views

Force required to drive car

From what I know of Newtonian Mechanics, if an object is moving at a constant velocity, the net force acting on that object is equal to zero. If there is friction, then the applied force required to ...
5
votes
1answer
450 views

Why do you hear an acute sound when you rub your shoe on the floor?

Sorry for the silly question, but I've been wondering about this for quite some time. After raining when I get home I rub my shoe's wet outsole on the floor and I hear an extremely acute (high pitch) ...
5
votes
2answers
169 views

Boy and box on ice

I have a troubles. Can you help me? I have a task, called "slippery activity". Boy (he has $m=45kg$) Stands at ice and tries to move a big box ($M=90kg$) with a string (rope). Boy's Slip ratio is ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

Does the force of kinetic friction increase with the relative speed of the objects involved? If not, why not?

Does the force of kinetic friction increase with the relative speed of the objects involved? I have heard and read that the answer is no. This is counter intuitive, and is a big part of why the ...
5
votes
4answers
447 views

Comparing Static Frictions

In this figure, which of the static frictional forces will be more? My aim isn't to solve this particular problem but to learn how is static friction distributed . Since each of the rough-surfaces ...
5
votes
1answer
39 views

Superhydrophobic coating and water friction

If you were to apply super-hydrophobic coating to the hull of ships or even submarines, would you get more or less water friction? If the coating completely repels the water you could argue there ...
5
votes
3answers
59 views

Model of contact friction

Consider the standard model of kinetic contact friction taught in introductory physics courses: $$F_f=\mu_k*F_N$$ According to this model, for a block with initial speed $v$ moving on a horizontal ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Why is it easier to glide on sharp ice skates than on dull skates?

There have been previous questions (e.g. here and here) on Physics.SE about the mechanism that makes ice skating possible. Reviewing these, as well external references, it seems pretty clear that the ...
5
votes
7answers
5k views

Simple friction formula for a car

I am making a 2D driving video game, and I would like to know the "simple" formula for calculating the friction force between the car and the road. I have read lots of friction diagrams involving ...
5
votes
1answer
431 views

What happens when two smooth surfaces touch?

I am wondering what will be the physics to explain how two neutral, chemically nonreactive objects stick. I know that using van der Waals formalism, we can treat neutral body electrodynamic forces and ...