What is Friction?

What is Friction?

Prerequisites Required: Forces

In a previous article, we deteremined that Force was the cause for objects to accelerate and deform.

What is force?
Forces cause objects to accelerate and deform.

From that article we again use the 3D printed spring and aluminum/plastic blocks to demonstrate properties of friction. Remember that more deflection of the spring means more force was applied to the spring's ends.

Figure 1: Spring and block experimental setup.

For our first experiment, we pull on the spring with our hand.

Figure 2: A hand pulling on the spring and block setup.

From this experiment, we focus on the spring's deformation (which measures force) at two key points.

We observe that the spring deforms before the block begins to accelerate. The block is just sitting on the ground! There must be some kind of force acting between the block and the ground that resists acceleration. We call this static friction.

Figure 3: A hand stretching the spring to cause the block to accelerate.