December 23, 2016 Physics

Have you ever tried sliding across a frozen pond? Then how about sliding across a soccer field? Notice any differences? Do you ever wonder why you can easily slide across ice, yet skid to a stop on grass? A force called friction is always at work that opposes movement in a certain direction. Friction is a force that is created when two surfaces come in contact and move across each other (Funk and Wagnalls). Many times friction is an overlooked force which has had greater impact on our lives than we would generally think. Without the force of friction our everyday lives would be different.

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As defined, friction is a force that is created when two surfaces come in contact and move across each other (Webster). But why is it so hard to move two surfaces when they are in contact. Wouldnt the force of friction make it easier? Well, if friction was going in the same direction as the object you were moving, then it would be. But force of friction actually goes in the direction opposite the direction you were pushing the object. This opposing force would make it a lot harder for surfaces to pass each other. defines friction as a “resistance offered to the movement of one body past another body with which it is in contact.” Since the force of friction is a resisting force, surfaces rubbing against each other are opposing each other, making the objects harder to move. Friction is a benefactor in many cases. Friction is present everywhere and people experience friction every day of their lives. Friction is present when you walk and prevents you from slipping each time you take a step. Friction is present when you drive a car. It keeps your wheels on the road and helps you stop the car when you press the brakes. It is also present in the little things you do such as rubbing your hands against a table. If there were no friction, life would probably be a lot harder. One would not be able to drive because the brakes would not be able to grip the wheels, making it impossible to stop the car.


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