A World Without Friction

A World Without Friction.

You make forces all the time. Forces press on you, and you use them to press on objects. Pushing your foot against your bicycle pedal makes a force. The force sets the bike in motion. Every time something starts moving or stops moving, a force is responsible.
You use force to throw a ball in the air. The force of Earth’s gravity pulls the ball back down. Every step you take creates a force on your foot and on the ground. Forces and motion are part of everyday life.
Why do you have to push a shopping cart to get it started? Objects that are sitting still stay that way until something makes them move. They have something called inertia. Inertia makes objects keep on doing whatever they are doing. Everything made of matter has inertia, even you!
If a shopping cart is standing still, inertia keeps it standing still. If the cart is moving, inertia keeps it moving. You have to apply a force to overcome inertia. The cart needs a push or pull to start moving down the grocery aisle. To stop the cart by your favorite cereal, you need to apply another force.
Imagine that you’ve been shopping for a while and the store is about to close. You start pushing your shopping cart faster. You turn your cart when you head for a different aisle. Scientists call any change in motion acceleration. Acceleration can be a change in speed, direction, or both.
By now, your shopping cart is full. It’s a lot heavier than when you first started to push it. You have to push harder to get the cart moving. You have to push harder to make the cart go faster. Your cart needs more force because it has more mass or stuff in it. Scientists would tell you that the force needed to accelerate your cart or any other object by a given amount depends on the object’s mass (amount of matter). The more mass an object has, the more force you have to use to get it moving or slow it down.
As if inertia and mass were not enough, you have to overcome friction to make objects move. Friction is also a force. Friction resists one object moving against another. Friction tries to keep your shopping-cart wheels from turning.
What if you had all your groceries in a big box? You would have to slide the box over the floor. Friction between the box and the floor comes from tiny bumps. The bumps on the box and the bumps on the floor get stuck against each other. You need force to move the bumps past each other. The rougher the floor the harder it is to slide the box. You could pour oil on the floor. Oil would lessen the friction. Oil would make the floor smooth and slippery. It would be easier to slide the box over the bumps on the floor.
Moving groceries in a cart with wheels is easier than sliding them in a box. There is still friction between the floor and the wheels. But it takes less force to roll the wheels over the floor.
What if there were no friction? Wouldn’t that make life easier?
Life would be impossible without friction. Friction makes your shoes stick to the floor. Without friction you would slip and fall and not be able to stand up. You wouldn’t be able to pick anything up either. Friction allows your hands to grip things. Cars wouldn’t be able to stop without friction. Lids would pop off of containers. Anything that moves would never stop moving without friction.

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29 Responses to “A World Without Friction”
  1. The Soul Explorer Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Well explained!

  2. Bambang Setiarso Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 2:36 am

    an idealistic sir ! we have friction because of interest, politics, miss perception or miss understanding, maybe money or cultural background,etc………….a religion become the role of significant to reduce friction.thanks

  3. adhiiw4hyu Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

    nice one

  4. adhiiw4hyu Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 4:26 am

    keep it up

  5. siriiiii Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 6:50 am

    well expalined

  6. Redfiery Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 7:54 am

    yes this is true..i liked it very much

  7. zulfikar Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 8:17 am

    in space there is no friction, on the moon there is less friction.

  8. Dreamy777 Says...

    On June 24, 2011 at 10:35 am

    nice work thanks

  9. foxpete88 Says...

    On June 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

    good one….thanks

  10. jrabraham Says...

    On June 25, 2011 at 2:08 am

    This is a unique read that it should be on the science section..

  11. ittech Says...

    On June 26, 2011 at 6:27 am

    unique read tru

  12. Ebbin Jose Says...

    On June 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Friction makes the world a livable environment. And our feelings, love, care, affection, desire, ambition, and all others, each one of them cause friction.

  13. articlesfactory Says...

    On June 27, 2011 at 8:18 am

    nice, keep it up

  14. DR.VNS Says...

    On July 2, 2011 at 4:57 am

    great analysis

  15. reiny Says...

    On July 6, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    great article

  16. Moses Ingram Says...

    On July 7, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Very good article. I liked it.

  17. Inzimam Says...

    On July 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Thanks everyone..

  18. shobhana Says...

    On July 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

    This is a simple way of explaining the role of forces. It should be under science not authspot. BTW are you a teacher or lecturing physics? It’s an innovative approach to teaching youngsters who have no basics in the topic. Anyone will be able to understand the concept by reading this article. Thanks

  19. darkangel1 Says...

    On July 10, 2011 at 11:16 am

    as humans we need friction in all formats, even in relationships to keep them going,

  20. redmail99 Says...

    On July 11, 2011 at 9:43 am


  21. sambasivarao Says...

    On July 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Very interesting

  22. ashan1614 Says...

    On July 14, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    True enough. And as an engineer designing bridges, I count on the force of friction to keep my bridge abutments/foundations from sliding around in the ground. Can you imagine driving across a bridge that shifted from side to side?

  23. Sebastian Onciu Says...

    On July 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Interesting article.

  24. waqar ahmed2 Says...

    On July 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    very nice

  25. Eunice Tan Says...

    On July 14, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Well said. Make us think

  26. beingwell Says...

    On July 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you friction!

  27. CHIPMUNK Says...

    On July 31, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Great work

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