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Answer to Question #31410 in Mechanics | Relativity for Avneesh

Question #31410
What is the force of friction?
Expert's answer
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:
• Dry friction resists relative lateral motion of two solid surfaces in contact. Dry friction is subdivided into static friction between non-moving surfaces, and kinetic friction between moving surfaces.
• Fluid friction describes the friction between layers within a viscous fluid that are moving relative to each other.
• Lubricated friction is a case of fluid friction where a fluid separates two solid surfaces.
• Skin friction is a component of drag, the force resisting the motion of a solid body through a fluid.
• Internal friction is the force resisting motion between the elements making up a solid material while it undergoes deformation.
The frictional force always is opposite to the motion.
In the reference frame of the interface between two surfaces, static friction does no work, because there is never displacement between the surfaces. In the same reference frame, kinetic friction is always in the direction opposite the motion, and does negative work. However, friction can do positive work in certain frames of reference. One can see this by placing a heavy box on a rug, then pulling on the rug quickly. In this case, the box slides backwards relative to the rug, but moves forward relative to the frame of reference in which the floor is stationary. Thus, the kinetic friction between the box and rug accelerates the box in the same direction that the box moves, doing positive work.
The work done by friction can translate into deformation, wear, and heat that can affect the contact surface properties (even the coefficient of friction between the surfaces). This can be beneficial as in polishing. The work of friction is used to mix and join materials such as in the process of friction welding. Excessive erosion or wear of mating surfaces occur when work due frictional forces rise to unacceptable levels. Harder corrosion particles caught between mating surfaces exacerbates wear of frictional forces. Bearing seizure or failure may result from excessive wear due to work of friction. As surfaces are worn by work due to friction, fit and surface finish of an object may degrade until it no longer functions properly.

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