Questions tagged [friction]

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

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266
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2answers
23k views

Why do ballpoint pens write better on pages that have pages below them?

If I write on the starting page of a notebook, it will write well. But when there are few or no pages below the page where I am writing, the pen will not write well. Why does this happen?
228
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8answers
35k views

How do towels stay on hooks?

Towels (and coats) are often stored on hooks, like this: To the untrained eye, it looks like the towel will slide off from its own weight. The hook usually angles upwards slightly, but a towel does ...
114
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5answers
29k 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 ...
98
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6answers
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Why is oil a better lubricant than water?

How come mineral oil is a better lubricant than water, even though water has a lower viscosity? When two surfaces slide over each other with a gap filled with a fluid, the different layers of the ...
74
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3answers
5k views

Is there 'friction' in spacetime?

So, if all the bodies are embedded in space-time and moves through it, is there some kind of 'friction' with space time of the planets? For example, the Earth suffers friction when moving near the sun ...
67
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2answers
7k views

What explanations are there for a rug steadily creeping at about a millimeter/day rate across a room? [closed]

I have bought a handmade rug of size 1.5 $\times$ 2m. About 1-2 weeks ago I noticed the rug was not in the center of my room and it had moved a bit. I thought maybe because I walked on it, it has ...
59
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6answers
8k views

Can a Skydiver Land On a Large Slide and Survive?

Please forgive my lack of artistic ability, but here's my question: Consider that a skydiver, without using his parachute, were to fall exactly parallel to a giant curved slide that starts at $90\,^\...
42
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1answer
6k 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 ...
41
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2answers
9k 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 ...
40
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6answers
8k 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 ...
39
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9answers
12k views

Why do bikes hardly ever skid while braking with the front wheel?

When abruptly braking with the rear wheel on a bike, it tends to skid pretty easily. Doing the same with the front wheel is a very different experience. Instead of skidding, the bike lifts the rear ...
35
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3answers
6k views

Push a Boeing 737 on ice: Did this guy have a chance? [closed]

In this video an airport worker (in blue) tries to prevent a Boeing 737 from sliding on ice in heavy winds: Did he even have a chance? On one side of the argument, the airplane is sliding due to the ...
32
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4answers
10k 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 ...
31
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6answers
2k 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 ...
30
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6answers
29k 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 ...
28
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1answer
2k 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 ...
27
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3answers
2k 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 ...
25
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5answers
15k 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 ...
24
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14answers
19k views

Is it possible to walk in a friction-less world?

Is it possible to walk in a frictionless world. I think you won't be able to walk because walking depends on friction acting on your feet. I think about it like an ice rink because when you try to ...
24
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5answers
9k 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?
24
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1answer
3k 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 ...
23
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6answers
4k views

Conical train wheels

I've been reading about how the conical shape of train wheels helps trains round turns without a differential. For those who are unfamiliar with the idea, the conical shape allows the wheels to shift ...
22
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1answer
472 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 ...
21
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6answers
5k views

Would you feel Centrifugal Force without Friction?

This question arose from my sci-fi discussions with my friend. It concerns artificial gravity through centrifugal Force. Partly inspired by the Artificial Gravity created on the Hermes ship from the ...
21
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6answers
66k 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 ...
21
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2answers
30k 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 ...
19
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5answers
54k views

What is the cause of rolling friction? & why is it less than sliding friction?

Rolling friction is the resistance to motion experienced by a body when it rolls upon another. It is much less than sliding friction for same pair of bodies. When one body rolls upon another, there is ...
18
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5answers
5k views

Does friction always oppose motion?

Recently I had the following misconceptions: Static friction always opposes the motion of body. The force of friction cannot initiate motion in a body. Now I came to know that my understanding was ...
18
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6answers
9k views

In car driving, why does wheel slipping cause loss of control?

When driving a car on ice, there is a danger of slipping, thereby losing control of the car. I understand that slipping means that as the wheels rotate, their circumference covers a total distance ...
18
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4answers
6k views

Will a pure rolling cylinder stop on a rough surface? [closed]

Will a disc or cylinder (rigid body) executing pure rolling on a rough surface stop, neglecting air drag and other heat losses and rolling friction but not static and kinetic friction? If yes, due to ...
18
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5answers
6k views

How does a car turn without any skidding?

The rear wheels of a car always face in the direction the car is moving. The front wheels are able to turn left or right and thus can point in the direction the car is moving towards. What I don't ...
18
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2answers
2k 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?
17
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4answers
15k 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, ...
16
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5answers
10k views

Is there any friction between wheel and road?

Human beings invented the wheel to get rid of the friction between the wheel and the road. But were we able to reduce it to zero? Is there any residual friction? This question is about only the ...
16
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4answers
45k 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 ...
16
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6answers
20k 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 ...
16
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3answers
690 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 ...
16
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2answers
616 views

Why does temperature change the friction coefficient of my stovetop?

I have a Ceran cooking field at home, it's a glass-ceramic surface with heating coils embedded beneath. When I slide a pan around there's much more friction on a hot plate than on a cool one. Why? ...
15
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10answers
9k views

Are Newton's laws invalid in real life? [closed]

One of my friends and I had an argument over this topic. He stressed the fact that in real life many forces exist, whereas in physics we deal only with ideal situations. He put the following arguments:...
15
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5answers
23k 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 gravity....
14
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5answers
14k 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 ...
14
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2answers
4k views

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian EOM with dissipative force

I am trying to write the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian for the forced Harmonic oscillator before quantizing it to get to the quantum picture. For EOM $$m\ddot{q}+\beta\dot{q}+kq=f(t),$$ I write the ...
14
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3answers
24k 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 "...
14
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2answers
440 views

Can the coefficient of friction be derived from fundamentals?

It is common to want to derive macroscopic laws from what we know microscopically - after all, given a (correct) microscopic description, everything larger should follow. Has it ever been done to ...
14
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4answers
4k 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. I ...
13
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4answers
7k views

If there is friction and everything stops on earth why does earth not stop due to friction?

Why do planets revolve around the Sun if there is a force called frictional force? Why do planets not stop rotating while the objects in motion stop after a while? Why are they continuously moving? ...
13
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7answers
2k views

Why doesn't an object, despite having a non-zero potential energy stored in it, fall by itself from the elevation?

When an object is at a certain height, it has some energy stored in it as we have done some work on it to get it to that height. So when it already has energy, then why doesn't it fall off from the ...
13
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6answers
4k views

Why does a car engine not do work if the wheels don't slip?

I saw this mind boggling result that if the tires don't slip then the work done by an engine to move a car is zero. Why is this true? Moreover, what does this truly mean? Update: Sorry about not ...
13
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5answers
106k 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 $\mu_k$ ...
13
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2answers
2k 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...