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Experiment 5: Friction

Laboratory Report

Patrick Santos, Melissa Suelto, Byron Leander Tan, Chelsea Leigh Tan, Kyle Gabriel Tanchuling,
Angelica Uy
Department of Chemistry
College of Science, University of Santo Tomas
Espaa, Manila Philippines

Friction is the force between
two surfaces rubbing together. In this
normal force, and nature of surfaces in
contact were correlated with friction. The
air resistance and the effect of lubricant
were also discussed.
I. Introduction
Frictional resistance to the relative
motion of two solid objects is usually
proportional to the force which presses the
surfaces together as well as the roughness of
the surfaces. Since it is the force
perpendicular or "normal" to the surfaces
which affects the frictional resistance, this
force is typically called the "normal force"
and designated by N. The frictional force is
also presumed to be proportional to
the coefficient of friction. However, the
amount of force required to move an object
starting from rest is usually greater than the
force required to keep it moving at constant
velocity once it is started. Therefore two
coefficients of friction are sometimes quoted

for a given pair of surfaces - a coefficient of

static friction and a coefficient of kinetic
friction. The force expression above can be
called the standard model of surface friction
assumptions about
Friction is
typically characterized by a coefficient of
friction which is the ratio of the frictional
resistance force to the normal force which
presses the surfaces together. In this case the
normal force is the weight of the block.
Typically there is a significant difference
of static
friction and kinetic
resistance forces are typically proportional
to the force which presses the surfaces
together. This force which will affect
frictional resistance is the component of
applied force which acts perpendicular or
"normal" to the surfaces which are in
contact and is typically referred to as the
normal force. In many common situations,
the normal force is just the weight of the
object which is sitting on some surface, but
if an object is on an incline or have
components of applied force perpendicular

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to the surface, then it is not equal to the



m is mass

In this experiment, students are

expected to
Verify the Laws of friction

N is weight

g is acceleration due to gravity

(which is 9.8 m/s2)

Observe the effect of air resistance

on falling coffee filters.




proportional to the normal force:

II. Theory
Consider a block of wood resting on
a wood board being pulled by a spring scale.
At first, the block against the board is not
moving. This force applied is countered by
an opposite force which is the static friction.
This is the maximum force and could have
before it starts moving. It was obtained in
the experiment by recording the reading of
the speed balance as fsmax expressed in its SI
unit: N.
The motion of the brick can be
retained with a much smaller force than the
starting friction. The fK is the force required
to move the block with constant velocity. It
was obtained in the experiment by recording
the reading of the speed balance while it is
moving in a constant velocity as fk expressed
in its SI unit: N.
The Normal Force obtained is simply
defined as the component perpendicular to
the object. It can be expressed using this
formula, N=mgcos . However, in the
absence of other perpendicular forces, the
normal force is equal in magnitude to the

Written in equation form:


f N .

f =N=


is a unitless coefficient of

The maximum force applied in a
resting object until such time before it
moves, or the fsmax, was used in order to
compute for the
. The coefficient of
maximum static friction was obtained by
using this formula
s =

maximum static friction

normal force

During the motion of the object the

motion is countered by kinetic friction. The
coefficient of kinetic friction was obtained
by using this formula.
s =

kinetic friction
normal force

More often than not,

s k

. More

force is needed to get an object moving than

to keep it moving. Coefficients vary and
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these values may be less than or more than

1. The real values depend on the nature and
roughness of the surfaces.
Lubricant added on surfaces usually
decreases its coefficient of friction.
Lubrication is usually added to reduce
friction and to make some movements with
less force needed. However, there are some
instances where application of lubricants can
hinder movement and increase friction. In
some objects especially small ones, the
molecular force between the lubricant and
the surface is stronger than the gravitational
pull of the object.

Bigger and heavier objects fall faster

because they have a larger force of gravity
acting on them. These objects accelerate to
higher speed until the air resistance force
acting on them is equal to the gravitation

IV. Results and Discussion

In table 1, the results show the
maximum static friction (fsmax) and the
kinetic force (fK) when pulling a block of

In the fifth activity, air resistance

was used. A free falling body in physics all
objects with the same rate of acceleration
will fall at the same time regardless of their
mass. However, in real life, some factors
come into play.

wood horizontally with a spring scale

When an object is falling in the air,

the speed of the object and the surface area
directly affects the speed of the object.
Shape of the object and density of the air
also affects the air resistance. Air resistance
is caused collisions of the air and the
object's side that is facing downward.

the board and the block does not change the

This is why as the surface area

increases and so does the air resistance
encountered by the body. As an object falls,
it accelerates not only by the gravitational
force but also because of the surface area.
The increase in speed leads to and increased
surface area. There will come a point where
F air resistance will be equal and balance to
the F grav and it is called terminal velocity.
The net force becomes 0 N and the object
will stop accelerating.

fsmax (N)

attached. The test was trialed 3 times using

the 3 areas of the block as area of contact.
The results show that the area of contact, or
the side where the friction happens between
kinetic and static friction when pulling at
constant velocity.
Activity 1
Table 1
fK (N)

In table 2, 100g was added on the

block each trial, following what was done on
the 1st Activity. Testing if the addition of
weight to the block will change the static or
kinetic friction. The s (coefficient of static
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al Force
70 N
70 N
70 N
60 N

friction) and K (coefficient of kinetic

friction) was also computed for:
s =

In table 4, the data was gotten from a

Motion Detector, when testing for the air

Maximum Static Friction

normal force

resistance with filter paper. Adding a layer

of filter paper each trial to find out whether
the mass of the object affect the air

and K =

resistance. As shown in the results, terminal

Kinetic Friction
normal force

velocity and square of the terminal velocity

grow when adding mass to the object being

In the results, the addition of the

weights does affect the kinetic friction and
static friction of block.
Activity 2
Weight of block: 1.715 N
Table 2
0.98 N
1.47 N
1.96 N
2.45 N

0.25 N
0.37 N
0.61 N
0.74 N

0.363 N
0.397 N
0.417 N
0.132 N

In table 3, the surface where the

block is being dragged is changed to the ff.
materials in the table. The nature of the
surfaces does affect the kinetic and static
friction as shown by analyzing the results in
the table.
Activity 3

Table 3
urface in Contact
Wood and wood
d and aluminum foil
ood and sand paper
od and plastic cover

0.735 N
0.49 N
0.784 N
0.343 N

tested upon.
Activity 5
Table 4
Number of Filters

Terminal Velocity
-1.824 m/s
-1.833 m/s
-2.074 m/s
-2.251 m/s
-2.031 m/s

V. Conclusion
The first hypothesis presented was
that the coefficient of friction will depend
on, and increase in proportion to, not only
the obvious object-to-object contact, but on
the time the weight is on the block as well
the coefficient of friction does not
completely depend on the amount of time a
force is being applied. The maximum force
of static friction that exists between two
surfaces is proportional to the normal force
and mostly independent of area of contact.
This situation is shown here that N = the
total normal force is the force that
perpendicular to the horizontal surface,
which is essentially the weight of the object.
The coefficient in that equation is called the
coefficient of static friction and that depends
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on the material. By using a higher

coefficient, any small changes in the value
of the coefficient will be harder to detect as
the actual value will be much higher. When
the object is actually moving, the friction is
said to be kinetic friction which is generally
less than static friction. If we add more mass
we increase the normal force, because the
weight has increased, hence increased the
total frictional force. This is shown here
where it can be seen that twice as much
force must be applied to move two bricks
instead of one the force meter read twice as
large. For air resistance the data should not
indicate that the kinetic energy at landing on
the floor is equal to the gravitational
potential energy before the paper box is
dropped. Because air resistance is a nonconservative force, the initial gravitational
potential energy should not equal the final
kinetic energy. Remind that friction is
another common non-conservative force A
more paper box has more mass and weighs
has more Fg will produce more drag, and a
smaller terminal velocity. A graph of this
information would show a greater slope.
VI. Applications
1. Which will require a greater force: to
start the motion of a heavy box or to

2. Why is it difficult to walk with new

leather shoes on a polished floor?

Since the new leather soles are polished

as well as the floor, the coefficient of
kinetic fricction is very small and you
tend to slip. Once you use the shoes in a
rougher surface the soles gets rough
increasing with this the coefficient of
kinetic friction.

3. How can an adjustable inclined plane

be used to measure the coefficient of
static friction and coefficient of kinetic

In order to determine the coefficient

of static friction using the inclined plane,
place the object on the plane then slowly
increase the angle of the plane until the
object begins to move at angle

. The

value of the coefficient of static friction

can be computed using the formula,

keep the box moving with constant


When you start the motion, you cause

acceleration which means that lots of
energy is used. However, once you reach
a constant speed and stop accelerating,
less energy is used.

For the value of k (kinetic friction), do the

same process, but give the object a little
push at each increasing value of .
4. The coefficient of static friction and
coefficient of kinetic friction between
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a refrigerator and the floor are 0.45





force is the same as the force exerted on

refrigerator weighs 1000N, find the

it, 400N. If the refrigerator is moving,

horizontal force needed to a) start the

the frictional force is 380N.

motion of the refrigerator b) to keep

the refrigerator moving at constant

5. Explain the usefulness of a parachute

for safe landing.

speed once it started moving. If a

horizontal force of 400N is applied,

Terminal velocity happens when your

what will happen to the refrigerator?

weight is equal to the force of friction of

In this situation, what is the value of

the air acting on you (air resistance). So


when you open the chute you have

greatly increased your surface area (and

a) (0.45)(1000 N) = 450 N

thusly the amount of air that can slow

b) (0.38)(1000 N) = 380 N

you down) without increasing your


c) "If a horizontal force of 400N is applied,

If the refrigerator is not moving already,

400N will not get it moving. If the
refrigerator is already moving, it will
F = ma
400 - 380N = (1000N / 9.81 m/s)(a)
a = 0.20 m/s

d) "In this situation (meaning a 400N

horizontal force is being applied), what
is the value of friction?"




terminal velocity by increasing wind

what will happen to the refrigerator?"


If the refrigerator is still, the frictional



[1] (2016, Septemeber 29). Retrieved

[2] (2016, September 29). Retrieved
[3] (2016, September 29). Retrieved
[4] (2016, September 29). Retrieved
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[5] The Physics Hypertext Motion.
(2016, September 29).

Retrieved from
[6] Wilson, J. D., & Hernandez-Hall, C.
A. (2010). Physics Laboratory
Experiments 7th ed. USA:
Cengage Learning.

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