High School Physics

Ways to Reduce Friction & Ways to Increase Friction

We need to reduce or increase friction in different situations, depending on our requirements and benefits. Here, in this post, we will list down some efficient ways to reduce friction. Not only that, but we will also come up with some intelligent ways to increase friction as well to make our life better.

Ways to Reduce Friction

  • Lubricants: Using lubricants is one way to reduce friction. Lubricants are substances that are put on surfaces to reduce the friction between the surfaces. Some examples of lubricants are motor oil, wax, and grease. Lubricants are usually liquids, but they can be solids or gases. An example of a gas lubricant is the air that comes out of the tiny holes on an air-hockey table.
  • Rolling Friction: Friction can also be reduced by switching from sliding kinetic friction to rolling kinetic friction. The magnitude of rolling friction is less than sliding friction. Ball bearings placed between the wheels and axles of in-line skates and bicycles make the wheels turn more easily by reducing friction.
  • Smoothen the surface: Another way to reduce the magnitude of friction is to smooth surfaces that rub against each other. For example, rough wood on a park bench can snag your clothes or scratch your skin because there is a large amount of friction. Rubbing the bench with sandpaper makes the bench smoother. As a result, the friction between you and the bench is less. So, the bench will no longer snag your clothes or scratch you.

Ways to Increase Friction

  • Sand spread on icy roads: One way to increase friction is to make surfaces rougher. For example, sand spread on icy roads keeps cars from sliding.
  • Textured batting gloves: Baseball players often wear textured batting gloves to increase the friction between their hands and the bat. The increased friction helps stop the bat from flying out of their hands.
  • Pushing surfaces together: Another way to increase friction is to increase the force pushing surfaces together. Suppose that you are sanding a piece of wood. You can sand the wood faster by pressing harder on the sandpaper. Pressing harder increases the force pushing the sandpaper and wood together. So, the friction between the sandpaper and wood increases.
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