How is friction produced?

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Jhaira Carmella Dancel

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How is friction produced?
« on: 11/02/2011 22:30:03 »
Jhaira Carmella Dancel asked the Naked Scientists:
How is friction produced?

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 11/02/2011 22:30:03 by _system »


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How is friction produced?
« Reply #1 on: 11/02/2011 23:30:55 »
This is a very interesting and surprisingly complex question.  Friction between two surfaces or its opposite slipperyness is a function of several factors.

Firstly there is the shape, roughness, strength and rigidity the materials themselves.  Nominally flat surfaces are very seldom flat on the atomic scale ant the peaks and valleys tend to lock into each other over the part of the surface that is in contact and the strength of the peaks determine some aspects of the resistance to movement.  rigidity defines how much surfaces can deform on the small scale to mesh with each other.  this is one of the reasons why soft deformable rubber grips so well.

Next there is the tendency of the surfaces to bond to each other or stickiness. Chemical adhesion can greatly increase friction.

Finally there is the presence or absence of lubricants.  liquids that act as an interface thad fill in the depressions and allow the slightly rough surfaces to slide over each other on a film of liquid.
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