Recommended for Middle School through High School.
Friction is a force that resists motion and lessens energy. It acts parallel to objects that are in contact with each other, and it can be either helpful or harmful. Friction is helpful when you want to slow or stop a bicycle, but it is harmful when it causes wear on the parts of a machine. Sliding friction depends on the nature of materials in contact. Some surfaces are rough, causing them to snag against each other when pulled. Other surfaces are smooth, causing them to slide easily. Engineers are concerned with friction when designing roadways, machines, fasteners, and lubricants. In this activity, you will study the effects of surface smoothness and material properties on sliding friction. You will use a Force Sensor to measure frictional force as you pull a wooden block across different surfaces.
In this experiment, you will
Use a Force Sensor and NXT to measure sliding friction.
Measure friction between a wooden block and smooth-surface wood.
Measure friction between a wooden block and rough-surface wood.
Predict, test, and compare the friction along other surfaces.
Sensors and Equipment
This project/activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.