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19/5/2018 Friction and Friction Coefficients

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Friction and Friction Coefficients
Friction theory and coefficients of friction for ice, aluminum, steel, graphite and other common materials and materials combinations
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The friction force is the force exerted by a surface when an object moves across it - or makes an effort to move across it.

The frictional force can be expressed as

Ff = μ N (1)


Ff = frictional force (N, lb)

μ = static (μs) or kinetic (μk) frictional coefficient

N = normal force between the surfaces (N, lb)

There are at least two types of friction forces

kinetic (sliding) friction force- when an object moves

static friction force - when an object makes an effort to move

For an object pulled or pushed horizontally the normal force - N - is simply the gravity force - or weight:

N = Fg

= m ag (2)


Fg = gravity force - or weight (N, lb)

m = mass of object (kg, slugs)

ag = acceleration of gravity (9.81 m/s2, 32 ft/s2)

The friction force due to gravity (1) can with (2) be modified to

Ff = μ m ag (3)

Friction Coefficients for some Common Materials and Materials Combinations

Static Frictional Coefficient

Materials and Material Combinations - μs -
Clean and Dry Surfaces Lubricated and Greasy Surfaces
Aluminum Aluminum 1.05 - 1.35 0.3
Aluminum-bronze Steel 0.45
Aluminum Mild Steel 0.61

Brake material2) Cast iron 0.4

Brake material2) Cast iron (wet) 0.2

Brass Steel 0.35 0.19
Brass Cast Iron 0.31)
Brick Wood 0.6
Bronze Steel 0.16
Bronze Cast Iron 0.221)
Bronze - sintered Steel 0.13
Cadmium Cadmium 0.5 0.05
Cadmium Chromium 0.41 0.34
Cadmium Mild Steel 0.461)
Cast Iron Cast Iron 1.1, 0.151) 0.071)
Cast Iron Oak 0.491) 0.0751
Cast iron Mild Steel 0.4, 0.231) 0.21, 0.1331)
Car tire Asphalt 0.72
Car tire Grass 0.35
Carbon (hard) Carbon 0.16 0.12 - 0.14
Carbon Steel 0.14 0.11 - 0.14
Chromium Chromium 0.41 0.34
Copper-Lead alloy Steel 0.22
Copper Copper 1 0.08
Copper Cast Iron 1.05, 0.291)
Copper Mild Steel 0.53, 0.361) 0.181) 1/6
19/5/2018 Friction and Friction Coefficients
Static Frictional Coefficient
Materials and Material Combinations - μs -
Clean and Dry Surfaces Lubricated and Greasy Surfaces
Diamond Diamond 0.1 0.05 - 0.1
Diamond Metal 0.1 - 0.15 0.1
0.1 - 0.6,
Glass Glass 0.9 - 1.0, 0.41)
Glass Metal 0.5 - 0.7 0.2 - 0.3
Glass Nickel 0.78 0.56
Graphite Steel 0.1 0.1
Graphite Graphite (in vacuum) 0.5 - 0.8
Graphite Graphite 0.1 0.1
Hemp rope Timber 0.5
Horseshoe Rubber 0.68
Horseshoe Concrete 0.58
Ice Ice 0.02 - 0.09
Ice Wood 0.05
Ice Steel 0.03
Iron Iron 1.0 0.15 - 0.20
Lead Cast Iron 0.431)
Leather Oak 0.61, 0521
Leather Metal 0.4 0.2
Leather Wood 0.3 - 0.4
Leather Clean Metal 0.6
Leather fiber Cast iron 0.31
Leather fiber Aluminum 0.30
Magnesium Magnesium 0.6 0.08
Masonry Brick 0.6 - 0.7
0.7 - 1.1,
Nickel Nickel 0.28, 0.121)
Nickel Mild Steel 0.641) 0.1781)
Nylon Nylon 0.15 - 0.25
Oak Oak (parallel grain) 0.62, 0.481)
Oak Oak (cross grain) 0.54, 0.321 0.0721
Paper Cast Iron 0.20
Phosphor-bronze Steel 0.35
Platinum Platinum 1.2 0.25
Plexiglas Plexiglas 0.8 0.8
Plexiglas Steel 0.4-0.5 0.4 - 0.5
Polystyrene Polystyrene 0.5 0.5
Polystyrene Steel 0.3-0.35 0.3 - 0.35
Polythene Steel 0.2 0.2
Rubber Rubber 1.16
Rubber Cardboard 0.5 - 0.8
Rubber Dry Asphalt 0.9 (0.5 - 0.8)1)
Rubber Wet Asphalt 0.25 - 0.751)
Rubber Dry Concrete 0.6 - 0.851)
Rubber Wet Concrete 0.45 - 0.751)
Silver Silver 1.4 0.55
Sapphire Sapphire 0.2 0.2
Silver Silver 1.4 0.55
Skin Metals 0.8 - 1.0
Steel Steel 0.5 - 0.8 0.16
Straw Fiber Cast Iron 0.26
Straw Fiber Aluminum 0.27
Tarred fiber Cast Iron 0.15
Tarred fiber Aluminum 0.18
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) 0.04 0.04, 0.041)
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Steel 0.05 - 0.2
Tungsten Carbide Steel 0.4-0.6 0.1 - 0.2
Tungsten Carbide Tungsten Carbide 0.2 - 0.25 0.12
Tungsten Carbide Copper 0.35
Tungsten Carbide Iron 0.8
Tin Cast Iron 0.321)
Tire, dry Road, dry 1
Tire, wet Road, wet 0.2
Wood Clean Wood 0.25 - 0.5
Wood Wet Wood 0.2
Wood Clean Metal 0.2 - 0.6
Wood Wet Metals 0.2
Wood Stone 0.2 - 0.4
Wood Concrete 0.62
Wood Brick 0.6
Wood - waxed Wet snow 0.14, 0.11)
Wood - waxed Dry snow 0.041)
Zinc Cast Iron 0.85, 0.211)
Zinc Zinc 0.6 0.04

1) Kinetic or sliding frictional coefficient - only when there is a relative motion between the surfaces. Without motion the values are somewhat higher.
2) Note! It is commonly thought that the static coefficients of friction are higher than the dynamic or kinetic values. This is a very simplistic statement and quite misleading for brake materials. With many
brake materials the dynamic coefficient of friction quoted is an "average" value when the material is subject to a range of sliding speeds, surface pressures and most importantly operating temperatures.
If the static situation is considered at the same pressure, but at ambient temperature, then the static coefficient of friction is often significantly LOWER than the average quoted dynamic value. It can be
as low as 40 - 50% of the quoted dynamic value.

Kinetic (Sliding) versus Static Frictional Coefficients

Kinetic or sliding frictional coefficients are used with relative motion between objects. Static frictional coefficients are used for objects without relative motion. Note that static coefficients are somewhat
higher than the kinetic or sliding coefficients. More force are required to start a motion

Example - Friction Force

A 100 lb wooden crate is pushed across a concrete floor. The friction coefficient between the object and the surface is 0.62. The friction force can be calculated as

Ff = 0.62 (100 lb)

= 62 (lb)

1 lb = 0.4536 kg

Example - Car, Braking, Friction Force and Required Distance to Stop 2/6
19/5/2018 Friction and Friction Coefficients

A car with mass 2000 kg drives with speed 100 km/h on a wet road with friction coefficient 0.2.

Note! - The friction work required to stop the car is equal to the kinetic energy of the car.

The kinetic energy of the car is

Ekinetic = 1/2 m v2 (4)


Ekinetic = kinetic energy of the moving car (J)

m = mass (kg)

v = velocity (m/s)

Ekinetic = 1/2 (2000 kg) ((100 km/h) (1000 m/km) / (3600 s/h))2

= 771605 J

The friction work (energy) to stop the car can be expressed as

Wfriction = Ff d (5)


Wfriction = friction work to stop the car (J)

Ff = friction force (N)

d = braking (stopping) distance (m)

Since the kinetic energy of the car is converted to friction energy (work) - we have the expression

Ekinetic = Wfriction (6)

The friction force Ff can be calculated from (3)

Ff = μ m g

= 0.2 (2000 kg) (9.81 m/s2)

= 3924 N

The stop distance for the car can be calculated by modifying (5) to

d = Wfriction / Ff

= (771605 J) / (3924 N)

= 197 m

"Laws of Friction"
Unlubricated Dry Surfaces

1. for low pressure the friction is proportional to the normal force between the surfaces. With rising pressure the friction will not rise proportionally. With extreme pressure friction will rise and
surfaces seize.
2. at moderate pressure the friction force - and coefficient - is not dependent of the surface areas in contact as long as the normal force is the same. With extreme pressure friction will rice and
surfaces size.
3. at very low velocity between the surfaces the friction is independent of the velocity of rubbing. With increased velocity the the friction decreases.

Lubricated Surfaces

1. friction force is almost independent of pressure - normal force - if the surfaces are flooded with lubricant
2. friction varies with speed at low pressure. At higher pressure the minimum friction is at velocity 2 ft/s (0.7 m/s) and friction increases with approximately square root of velocity afterwards.
3. friction varies with temperature
4. for well lubricated surfaces the friction is almost independent of surface material

Typically steel on steel dry static friction coefficient 0.8 drops to 0.4 when sliding is initiated - and steel on steel lubricated static friction coefficient 0.16 drops to 0.04 when sliding is initiated.
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