Examples of Friction in Everyday Life

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Have you ever wondered if there is any difference between Friction and Force? Well, to be honest with this there is a great difference between the two terms. We interact with force and friction in our daily lives but we might forget to relate the two.

The term Friction is one which you have often come across it since childhood and one of the best examples that define friction is when a vehicle is moving on the road during a rainy season. That said and done, let’s start by defining Friction.

What is friction or frictional force anyway? Well, by definition, this is a phenomenon that will occur when two objects are in contact. In other words, one can also say that friction occurs when there is roughness between the two rubbing surfaces.

This is because of the interaction of the molecules of the two rubbing surfaces. Whenever friction occurs, there will be an automatic loss of energy. The energy lost depends on the speed and intensity of the two surfaces that come into contact.


Examples of Friction in Everyday Life

  • When we walk
  • When we write
  • Application of brake on tire
  • When we skate
  • Flying of airplane
  • Lighting a Matchstick


When we Walk

Image Source: iStock

The friction that occurs when you are walking is basically an example of dry friction. This means that without friction you can’t walk, instead, you will skid.

Have you ever walked into a bank or a social hall during cleaning hours and there is a tag “Slippery Floor?” This means that there is no frictional force between the foot and the floor.

This is how frictional force aids us in walking, while walking you will push your foot back to make a step forward. In other words, you can also say that frictional force will assist you in holding your shoe on the ground as you walk around.


When we Write

Image Source: Inc. Magazine

Even though computers are taking over and there is a lot of typing, I think in our day-to-day life, everyone has to write something down. Friction is very important and it helps us a lot in writing if you are wondering how, well we are going to answer it.

When the tip of the Pen/Pencil gets in contact with the paper surface it creates frictional force. For writing to be successful, it doesn’t need frictional forces alone but also adhesive forces are required.

In other words, when you start writing, the ink is deposited on the ball and it starts rolling thus rolling friction comes to play. When writing using a pencil sliding friction is what comes into play as deposits of lead come onto the paper.


Ice Skating

Image Source: Thrillophilia

Ice skating, a recreational as well as exercise or sporting activity is the act of using usually metallic blade ice skates to glide across an ice surface. As enjoyable as this sporting activity can be, it took physicists centuries to finally understand the mechanism that allowed one to skate freely on slippery ice.

Thanks to the tremendous frictional force, this phenomenon has come to be known as “friction melting” because of the contact between the metal-bladed ice skates on ice. The uppermost layer of the ice is melted liberating molecules of water that serve as a lubricant.

Therefore, as a result, only a sliding kinetic frictional force is required in skating. Hence, a skater can propel forward by pushing off the ice on the ground in a perpendicular motion to the metallic blade of the skating board or boot.


Application of Brake on Tyres

Image Source: Unsplash

A Vehicle, Motorcycle, a Bicycle all have tires and a braking system. For the tires to stop they need friction between the brake pad and the tire surface. The process of stopping a tire stop involves converting Kinetic energy to thermal energy.

Thermal energy is the heat that is lost during the conversion. This is another real example of dry friction which will bring the velocity to zero. In the meantime, the vehicle will come to a halt.

Flying of Aeroplanes

Image Source: Unsplash

Flight in airplanes exists cause of drag or air resistance. Air resistance is a type of friction always defined in fluid dynamics. Air resistance also referred to as drag is a friction force that acts in the opposite direction to the relative motion of the object with respect to the surrounding fluid.

During drag in airplane movement, the following is usually generated; air impact force, air displacement, and skin friction. This will allow the flight to take off, land, and reduce/increase speed when airborne.


Lighting a Matchstick

Image Source: Motion Array

The matchstick head comprises the following components; glass powder, Sulphur, red phosphorous, and oxidizing agents. All of these chemical components are inflammable chemical components that need a slight amount of heat.

When there is friction, energy is lost in form of heat and this is the heat that will light the matchstick. This friction is generated when the matchstick is rubbed against a rough surface. When the matchstick is wet, there is no friction hence it can’t light.

Some other examples of friction in Daily Life:

Apart from the above-mentioned friction force examples, I am also mentioning some of a few here.

  • Drilling a nail into a wall
  • Sliding on a garden slide
  • Brushing your teeth to remove particles
  • The belt holding your pants
  • Mopping surfaces
  • Working of an eraser
  • Ironing a shirt
  • Rubbing of hands to produce heat, etc.

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I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my career, and therefore I did my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every aspect of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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