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6 Examples of Friction in Everyday Life

Have you ever wondered what is friction and force? How do we relate them to our real day to day
activities? From your childhood, you might have studied the term “friction”. The best example is
slowing down the vehicles on the road during the rainy season. That's the case! Friction is a natural
phenomenon that occurs when there is contact between two objects. When friction occurs, there will
be a loss of energy. Friction occurs due to the roughness of the rubbing surface. During friction, the
molecules in the surface will interact with each other. The force of the friction will depend on the
material of the rubbing surface. It also depends on the speed or intensity at which two surfaces come
into contact with each other. To overcome friction, you need to work more and put extra effort.
Whereas force is any interactions that tend to change the motion of the object.
Types of Friction
Friction is classified broadly into three type’s namely static friction, kinetic friction and fluid friction.
Static Friction occurs between two objects that are not movable. Even when a large force is applied
to the objects they will not move.
Kinetic friction occurs, between moving objects, that is when one object moves on another object. A
good example is when you ride a bicycle on a road. The wheels of the bicycle move on the road. The
bicycle will slow down until it stops completely. Two types of kinetic friction are Sliding friction and
rolling friction.
Fluid friction is a type of friction that acts on objects that travels through fluids. Fluids include liquid
and gas.
We will see a few examples in the following discussion.
1. Walking
Without friction between the shoes and the ground, you cannot walk properly. If there is no friction,
imagine all of us would be sliding and falling around without any control over yourself. You're
pushing your foot back as you try to step forward. Friction holds your shoe to the ground so you can
walk around. Consider how hard it is to walk on slippery ice, where little friction is present.
2. Driving
While driving vehicles and bicycles, as we already discussed friction occurs between wheels of the
vehicle and the surface which it is travelling. The coefficient of friction value determines the
“stickiness” between two objects. If the friction is zero, the vehicle wouldn’t move forward. Friction
is the reason that allows us to stop the vehicle as when needed
3. Writing
All of us write using a pen or pencil in our daily life. What happens when you hold your pen or pencil?
Have you ever thought about it? The friction is the fact here, which allows us your hand to hold the
object. The same concept is applicable to an eraser. You apply a force on the eraser which helps you
to wipe off every content.
4. Rubbing Your Hands Together Make Them Warmer
Have you ever noticed that your hands feel warm when you rub your hands together for several
seconds? Friction causes this warmth. When two hands come in contact and rub against each other,
they generate friction. But, when you just put your hands together, there will be no resistance, hence
friction does not happen. The action of scraping the surface of your skin back and forth against each
other causes the molecules in your skin to move a little faster. The temperature will increase when
the molecules move faster. This is the reason behind the warmth feeling in hands when it is rubbed
against each other.
5. Skating
To work properly on ice skates, they must be able to slip and glide with as little friction as possible
over the Ice Skates ice. Most individuals believe it's the slippery ice, but the reality is that ice is no
longer fragile than a soft concrete sidewalk! A thin film of water under the blade is the thing that
makes a skate slide. As it turns out, the heat generated by the skate's blade rubbing against the ice
causes some of the ice to melt right below the blade when you glide over the ice. Under the skate, this
water acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and sliding it. By pushing off the ice with a force
perpendicular to the skate blade, a skater propels himself forward. Because the blade's friction with
the ice is nearly zero, this is the only way to propel it forward.
6. Lighting a matchsticks
The head at a strike-anywhere match's tip contains all the chemicals needed to make a spark. In order
to generate enough frictional heat to ignite the game, a strike-anywhere match only requires to be
rubbed against a surface with an elevated friction coefficient such as sandpaper. Safety matches differ
from strike-anywhere matches as they are divided between the match head and the treated strip
found on the matchbox or matchbook. The friction between the head of the match and the strip being
treated will ignite the match. Because water lowers friction, matches fail to ignite when wet.