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Last updated date: 17th May 2024
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Vedantu’s Friction Concept Explanation

This is the stopping force that opposes the relative movement or the tendency of relative motion of two solid surfaces, fluid layers, and material elements when they slide each other, known as friction. It acts tangentially along with the contact. Friction always exists in pairs.

On microscopic observation, we find friction occurs due to irregularity in surfaces.

Types of Friction

Friction may be classified into two main types as follows:

Internal Friction

It is the force that restricts motion between the elements constituting a solid material at the time of deformation.

External Friction

It happens when two bodies that are in contact with each other have the tendency to move, or they are in actual relative motion.

There are many types of friction like Dry friction, Fluid friction, Lubricated friction, Skin friction etc. 

Fluid friction If the friction happens, in between layers of any viscous fluids that are moving with each other, the phenomenon is called fluid friction.

Lubricated friction occurs when any lubricant fluid present in between two solid objects.

Skin friction occurs when a force restricts the movement of fluid across any body’s surface.

Dry Friction

If a force restricts the relative lateral movement of two solid surfaces which are in contact with each other, the phenomenon is called dry friction or external friction, it may be further classified into static friction, limiting friction and kinetic friction. 

Static Friction

It happens in between nonmoving solid surfaces when the tendency of relative motion occurs in the bodies which are in contact and the body is at rest. It is represented by ‘fs’. Static friction never exists on its own. It opposes the impending motion that means it always takes place under the applied force. If there is no applied force, there is no static- friction. Its value is variable and self-adjusting. It has no formula as its value is variable. The maximum value of static friction is known as Limiting friction, represented as ‘flimiting’. The value of static force may be described as below:

0 ≤  fs  ≤ flimiting

Flimiting = μsN (μs is the coefficient of static friction or limiting friction and N is the normal reaction exerted by the surface)

Laws of Static Friction:

  1. The magnitude of the max. The Force of the static friction is independent of the area of contact between two surfaces.

  2. The magnitude of maximum force is always comparative to the normal force; therefore if the normal force increases, the maximum external force that the object can endure without moving, also increases.

Limiting Friction

It is the maximum force of static friction, i.e. achieved when a body just starts moving over another body’s surface when in contact with each other. The following equation determines its value:

Flimiting = μsN (μs is the coefficient of static friction or limiting friction and N is the normal reaction exerted by the surface)

Laws of Limiting friction:

There are the following four laws for limiting friction:

  1. The force of Limiting friction between two objects is directly proportional to the normal reaction:

F ∝ N

  1. Therefore if a body is heavy, the normal reaction, i.e. mg increases, so force increases and more force is needed to move the heavy body in comparison to a lighter body.

  2. The direction of limiting friction is always opposite to the direction in which one object is just about to move over another object.

  3. Limiting friction’s force is independent of the area in between two bodies in contact.

  4. Limiting friction’s force between any two objects in contact depends on the nature of their material or the roughness and smoothness they possess.


Kinetic Friction

It happens in between moving surfaces or when motion is there. When we increase the applied force slightly more than limiting friction, the actual motion starts. The force of friction at this point is known as ‘Kinetic friction’. Its value is constant and does not depend on the relative motion and area of contact. Fk denotes it. Kinetic friction fk is directly proportional to N (normal reaction).

Fk ∝ N

Fk = μkN (μk = constant and known as the coefficient of kinetic friction, depends on the surfaces which are in contact). 

If we plot a graph between the friction and applied force, we find that at the stage of rest, the static function is equal to the applied force as static friction is self-adjustable. Therefore the graph will be a straight line and linear. Just after the stage of limiting friction when the body is just about to start, the value of friction always decreases and then becomes constant, during the motion as shown in the following figure:

(Image will be uploaded soon)

Laws of Kinetic Friction:

There are following four laws of kinetic friction:

  1. The kinetic friction always opposes the relative motion and has a constant value. Its value depends on the nature of two surfaces of the objects in contact.

  2. The value of kinetic friction fk does not depend on the area of contact; therefore, the normal reaction is the same throughout.

  3. The kinetic friction is not entirely dependent on velocity.

  4. The value of kinetic friction is directly proportional to the normal reaction between both the surfaces in contact.



(i) The direction of kinetic friction is always opposite from relative motion.

(ii) The value of limiting friction is always more than kinetic friction, i.e. Flimiting.

(iii) The value of the static fraction is more, and it is maximum at the limiting fraction, after that the value is constant during the motion. Therefore, the value of the kinetic fraction is always constant.

(iv) As the static friction is variable, there is no formula for the determination of static friction.

(v) Frictional force always opposes the relative motion, not the motion.

FAQs on Friction

1. A Boy Pushes a Cardboard of Mass 75.0 kg Box on the Flat Surface of a Floor. The Kinetic Friction’s Coefficient μk is 0.520. If the Boy Exerts 400.0 N Force Forward, then Calculate. The Force of Friction’ Magnitude?

The normal force on any object may be found out by the following  equation

N = mg

0By substituting the value of η, i.e. 75.0 x 9.8 in the equation Fk = μk N, we will have (taking g as 9.8 m/s2)

Fk = (0.520)(75.0)(9.80) = 382.20 N

And to calculate the net force that moves the box we have to use the following formula:

Fnet = Fworker – Fk as the net force acting on a body is always the sum of all the forces acting on any object. Here the forces acting on the given body are the force by the man plus the kinetic friction in the opposite direction. As the forward motion is considered positive, then the net-force will be calculated as below:

Fnet = Fworker – Fk

On substitution of the values in the above equation, we get

Fnet = 400 N – 382.2 N = 17.8 N

2. A Force of 980.0 N is Required to Slide a Sledge Weighing 1200.0 kgf Over a Flat- Surface, Calculate the Coefficient of Friction?

As given fs = 980 N,

Normal-force = mg = 1200 kgf = 1200 x 9.8 N

We know that coefficient of static friction

µs = fs / N

    = 980.0 / 1200.0 x 9.8

   = 0.83

In order to solve the practical questions, students should have a good theoretical understanding. Candidates can study the concepts with the help of Vedantu's study material where they will get a better understanding of the chapters and also, experts will guide you to understand the use of various concepts to solve a practical question. If students make a habit of understandings and learning they will never forget the main concepts which will help them to score good marks. Vedantu provided you with lots of important questions and sample papers that will help you in practising more and more and get accurate answers in one go. That will help you in saving your time during the examination.

3. Why is friction an important chapter?

Physics chapter Friction is one of the most important chapters for students it explains some of the most important concepts and students get good knowledge about some practical things. Candidates can prepare this important chapter with the help of the notes provided by the expert team of Vedanta, where the expert team provides your one-to-one classes to help you get personalized study material and get complete guidance.

The Study of chapter friction helps students to know the process by which a moving object slows down. It is an important concept of physics. Experts have prepared the study material with deep knowledge about friction and it defines meaning and types of friction with the help of examples, candidates can prepare with the important question papers and get a good understanding of what types of questions will be framed for examination.

4. How many types of friction are there what are there?

Friction is defined as the force that slows down the moving object also stops the rolling object. There are 4 types of friction. Friction differs because of different types of motions in objects. It can be divided into four categories. 

Static friction- Between a stationary object and the surface on which it is resting, static friction exists. It stops an object from slamming into the surface.

Sliding friction-When two items slide against each other, sliding friction occurs.

When sliding friction is present, another force must be present to keep the body going.

Rolling friction - The resistive force that slows the velocity of a rolling ball or wheel is known as rolling friction. It's also referred to as rolling resistance.

A modest static rolling friction force holds back the rolling motion when a force or torque is applied to a stationary wheel. The resistance from static sliding friction, on the other hand, is what actually causes the wheel to roll. Rolling friction slows down the speed of an object rolling on a surface by preventing it from rolling.

Fluid friction - Objects travelling through the open air are subjected to air friction. Between the thing and the air it is travelling through, air friction occurs. It's also known as drag. This force is determined by the object's shape, substance, speed of movement, and viscosity of the fluid. The resistance of air to flow is measured as viscosity, which varies depending on density.

5. Where can I get the best study material for the physics chapter Friction?

To get the best study material for the physics chapter friction students can connect with Vedantu which is the #1 online learning app that allows you to download free study material for friction which includes Friction - Meaning, Types, and Laws of Friction. These notes are prepared by the experts to help the students get the best knowledge and understanding about the chapters. Getting the best guidance is very important for students, students can trust one of the best platforms Vedantu that has answers to all your questions and they provide personalized classes for students with top-notch teachers. 

You can find the best physics notes for Friction - Meaning, Types, and Laws of Friction, here you can also find study material for other important subjects as well and get complete guidance from the experts. the students need to work hard and study well to score good ranks and they can do self-assessment by practising with Vedantu's sample question papers, this will help candidates in managing the time and speed to complete their paper.

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