# Fight Slippage with Friction

A fun physics challenge from Science Buddies

Observations and results
In general, did the tub slip down the icy ramp better than the dry ramp? Was the smallest ramp angle needed for the tub to slip on the icy ramp smaller than the angle needed on the dry ramp?

When two objects rub together, there is always friction, and the surfaces of the two objects determine the amount that is generated. In this activity, you should have seen that there was less friction between the tub and the icy wood than from the dry plank. In other words, a smaller ramp angle was needed when using the icy wood than when using the dry wood for the tub to slip.

To calculate the force of friction, one must multiply the coefficient of friction by the force generated by the object, which was the mass of the tub in the pull of gravity. Although the mass of the tub and gravity did not change, the coefficient of friction of the two ramp systems did. The icy plank and the tub bottom had a lower coefficient of friction than the dry wood and the tub. You can easily feel this difference by carefully running your hand along the icy and then dry wood surfaces. The icy plank's frozen coating makes it much smoother than the dry wood.

More to explore
"Friction" from Kidipede, History and Science for Kids, Portland State University
"Moti" from Motion Basics: Friction from Rader's Physics4Kids.com
"Finding an Angle in a Right Angled Triangle" from Math is Fun Advanced
"Slip Sliding Away: Experimenting with Friction" from Science Buddies

This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Click one of the buttons below to register using an existing Social Account.

## More from Scientific American

• Scientific American Magazine | 45 minutes ago

### How Brain Scans Might Change the Way Doctors Diagnose Alzheimer’s

• Octopus Chronicles | 14 hours ago

### Octopus In Space: Why the Latest U.S. Spy Rocket Is More Appropriate Than the NRO Knows

• TechMediaNetwork | 14 hours ago | 5

### Radiation on Mars 'Manageable' for Manned Mission, Curiosity Rover Reveals

• News | 14 hours ago | 3

### Powder Rive Basin Coal on the Move

• TechMediaNetwork | 15 hours ago | 1

More »

## Latest from SA Blog Network

• ### Freezing, Boiling, Dehydration and Starvation

Image of the Week | 50 minutes ago
• ### Helen's Choice: Female Multiple Mating in the Natural World

The Primate Diaries | 1 hour ago
• ### Tuesday Tune: They Might Be Giants

Rosetta Stones | 3 hours ago
• ### Found: The Coldest Place on Earth

Observations | 6 hours ago
• ### Octopus In Space: Why the Latest U.S. Spy Rocket Is More Appropriate Than the NRO Knows

STAFF
Octopus Chronicles | 14 hours ago

## Science Jobs of the Week

Fight Slippage with Friction

X

Give a 1 year subscription as low as \$14.99

X

X

###### Welcome, . Do you have an existing ScientificAmerican.com account?

No, I would like to create a new account with my profile information.

X

Are you sure?

X