Can you overcome static friction by applying a force less than maximum force of static friction for an infinite amount of time?

If: Fsmax = μs mg

Fsmax=(0. 74) ×(138) ×(9.8)


Force applied by a person to overcome the force of friction=990N

Does the object move if the person applies the force for an infinite amount of time? Does the objects atoms move if you view it under a microscope?

  • $\begingroup$ The equation for Fsmax is mu_s*Fn (coefficient of static friction times normal force). Nowhere in that equation is a parameter for time... $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Edited the question. $\endgroup$
    – Zheer
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ Do you want a real-world answer, or an answer in an idealized world? Static friction is caused by small grooves and imperfections between the surfaces of objects, microscopic structures made of molecules and atoms which eventually decay. So, realistically, the objects under that constant force should eventually move. I think it's unphysical to ask what happens to real-world stuff after infinite time, in most cases. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ In an Idealized world, it's also appreciated if a real-world answer/info was submitted/added as an extra. $\endgroup$
    – Zheer
    Oct 13, 2019 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


Typically, in toy models of kinematics, time isn't taken into account when calculating friction.

In the equation Fsmax = mu_s × Fn (maximum static friction equals coefficient of static friction times normal force of object), either the static friction benchmark is met or it isn't—time just isn't taken into account.

Realistically, friction isn't ideal. Generally, static friction is the result of opposing grooves and imperfections between contacting surfaces on a smaller, microscopic scale. Think of interlocking mechanical teeth, but a lot less orderly. Each microscopic ridge and groove is made up of structures that are subject to warping under mechanical stress or heat due to compression.

Realistically, you would not need to wait infinite time before an object overcomes static friction because of this.

Ultimately, most particles are expected to decay.

  • $\begingroup$ So in the real world unless the particles of the object decay, the object will not move,right? $\endgroup$
    – Zheer
    Oct 13, 2019 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Zheer Unless your object is completely rigid, I'd expect those small-scale structures to eventually warp enough to not impede motion. The object's particles decaying is kind of an end-all statement, that is, if nothing else, the object's matter will not last infinite time. $\endgroup$
    – BMF
    Oct 13, 2019 at 21:00

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