Anonymous

# what is the role of friction in physics?

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Friction is a term used to describe the force that arises when two surfaces slide past each other. As two objects slide past each other, their irregular surfaces grind together, resulting in a force that resists the motion. This is called the force due to friction.

Friction's role is to describe the interactions between two or more actual objects, as opposed to the massless rods and frictionless surfaces in your physics textbook.

Friction is not only limited to the solid world, either. In aerodynamics, friction is called drag. Drag is the resistance the air produces as a vehicle moves through it. (Drag resists the motion of the vehicle.) In fluid dynamics it is called viscosity. Viscosity is often thought of as the thickness of a fluid, but it's really the resistance of a fluid to motion. i.e. water readily pours from glass, since it's not very viscous, but honey, being very viscous, pours very slowly.

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Friction, while many times viewed as a hindrance, is absolutely necessary. There must be friction between your feet and the ground for you to stand. You must have friction to hold an object in your hand. In many high school physics problems (and even college courses) friction is ignored simply to make the mathematics easier. Friction is a force between 2 surfaces in contact. Since many physics problems involve objects making contact, the force of friction is necessary to predict the outcome.

Converts kinetic energy into other forms of energy (heat, static). Energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can, and will, be converted.

Keeps mass from sliding over surfaces when an external force is applied to the mass. That is, f = Fex - Ff = 0; where f = net force on the mass, Fex = the external force, and Ff = the frictional force = kN; where k = the coefficient of friction and N is the normal weight of the mass = mg cos(theta) and theta = 0 if there is no incline in the surface.

Major cause for inefficiencies where efficiency = W/KE = work out over kinetic energy (or work) into a system and W < KE because of frictional heat and other converted energies. In fact, the conservation of energy law allows us to write W + Q = KE; where Q is all the converted energy losses (like heat).

Bottom line, friction is what prevents us from having a perpetual motion machine. It is also what slows and stops things from moving if continual energy is not added to those things. In sum, friction is what makes us dependent on petroleum and other energy forms to keep our economies going.

Source(s): Physics and engineering degrees.

friction slows an object down. similarly, it decreases the speed of an object and this is a result of friction between 2 objects close together and this generates heat sometimes

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• Anonymous

Friction is the force that opposes the relative motion or tendency of such motion of two surfaces in contact. It is also the contact of two objects creating static electricity. (Wikipedia)

friction is a force that apposes relative motion between 2 surfaces IN CONTACT