What is friction?

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If you’ve ever been really cold and rubbed your hands together quickly to warm up, you’ve felt friction.  You actually experience friction all the time!  Whenever any two objects rub together there is a force that makes them not glide smoothly.  This force is friction, and it’s a good thing friction exists! Otherwise, every time we took a step we would slip, slide and not stop!

Friction is also able to take the energy of moving objects and turn it into heat.  That’s why our hands feel warm when we rub them together.  It also plays a very important part in how brakes work in cars and on bikes!  The energy of the moving wheels is stopped by friction, which turns it into heat.  Eventually the wheels lose all of their moving energy and stop spinning.

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Fantastic Friction!

    If you’ve ever gone ice-skating, you might think that ice doesn’t cause friction when you skate across it.  It actually does! It’s just a lot less than if you used your ice skates on grass or a different, less slippery surface.  

    Different objects experience different amounts of friction.  You see this at home if you have a tray, an ice cube, a rectangular rubber eraser and a coin.   Line up the ice cube, eraser and coin next to each other on one end of the tray.  Then slowly lift that end of the tray.  Which slides down first?  Why do you think that is? Which of the three objects experiences the most friction?

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