Gaming mice have very smooth bottoms, but gaming mouse pads have a very rough surface, much more than regular mouse pads.

How can it be that a smooth surface on a rough surface has less friction than a smooth surface on a smooth surface?

  • $\begingroup$ If you make glass surfaces sufficiently smooth, flat and clean, they will bond together when brought into contact. This is widely used in the fabrication of glass cells and things like that. Metal surfaces also stick together it they are sufficiently flat, smooth and clean. You have to be careful about this when designing structures for use in high vacuum (where you can't allow lubricants). Plastic mice and mats don't stick quite as firmly but it's the same general idea. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 13:22

1 Answer 1


If the surface of the mouse pad was also very smooth, this would create a lot of intimate contact between mouse and pad. This, depending somewhat on materials used for both surfaces, could lead to quite high friction coefficients.

Of course a rough mouse surface in combination with a rough mat surface wouldn't work either, as the surfaces would interact much like $\text{Velcro}$ does.

The combination of smooth mouse and rough mat is ideal because the smooth mouse can 'ride' smoothly and effortlessly over the peaks of the mat's surface, with minimum surface area contact.

Choice of the right material is however as important as surface texture: low friction coefficient materials are preferred.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's clever! Who comes up with such ideas? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ Clever material development engineers! ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Gert
    Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Corrected. $\endgroup$
    – Gert
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 17:29

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