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How does the weight of an object affect the friction it has on the surface.

Physics coursework

How does the weight of an object affect the friction it has on the surface.

Part 1: Planning the experiment

1. Friction

When two surfaces slide overreach other, there will be a force acting against the motion, called friction.

The force needed to push an object along a surface is the force necessary to overcome the friction between the object and the surface. This frictional force depends on two things. Firstly, the nature of the object and also the friction of the surface itself. Secondly, the force between the object and the surface, so it will be harder to push the object over the surface if the downward force of the object, the weight, increases.

In my experiment, I will be investigating the later statement. As all the testing will be done on horizontal planes, the force between the body and the surface will be the weight of the body.

Friction occurs in almost all situations involving physical objects. We usually try to minimise friction, as it is a nuisance to us. However, friction is also useful and necessary in many ways: the friction between the soles of our shoes and the pavement allows us to walk without slipping and sliding. Friction is also used to light matches. The friction between the screws and the wooden beams prevent them from sliding out and keeps buildings from collapsing.

2. Dynamic and static friction

The different types of friction are due to various kinds of motion. Static friction occurs between objects that are not moving. Dynamic friction occurs between objects that slide across each other. I will be investigating these two types of friction. Other types are fluid friction and rolling friction.

The difference between static friction and dynamic friction can be shown by performing a simple experiment, shown in the diagram bellow.

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