Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology


Figure from experiment 1 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT


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.

Additional Requirements

You will also need NXT Sensor Adapter and a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics system.

STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT

See other experiments from the lab book.

2First-Class Levers
3Audio Assistant
6String Tension Tester
7Gas Pressure
8Yeast in Action
9Grip Strength
10Cartesian Diver
12Lemon Battery
13Battery Tester
14Solar Cells
15Solar Tracker
16Mapping a Magnetic Field
18Migrating Robot
19Magnet Finder
20Mine Sweeper

Project/activity 1 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Lab Book

<em>STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO<sup>®</sup> MINDSTORMS<sup>®</sup> NXT</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

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