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Friction Investigation

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FRICTION INVESTIGATION PLANNING Aim: To investigate the effect of changing a trainer's weight on the friction that occurs when it is dragged along at a constant speed. Possible Factors: > Material of trainer sole > Speed of trainer > Forward force > Roughness of ground surface > Conditions (temperature etc.) > Whether surface is lubricated Scientific Knowledge: Friction is a force that resists the sliding or rolling of one solid object over another. Friction is essential, an example is the traction needed to walk without slipping, but it can also be a force that is extremely un-useful, and it can present a great measure of opposition to motion. For example, about 20 percent of the engine power of car engines is used to overcome the friction forces of the moving parts. The major cause of friction between two surfaces is the forces of attraction, known as adhesion, between the contact regions of the surfaces, which are always irregular (albeit sometimes microscopically). Friction is caused by shearing these "welded" junctions and from the action of the irregularities of the harder surface across the softer surface. There are things that will affect the amount of friction that occurs. One of them is the weight that presses the two surfaces together, and that friction is proportional to this load or weight that presses the surfaces together. For example, if a pile of three bricks is pulled along a table, the friction is three times greater than if one brick is pulled. Therefore, the ratio of friction F to load L is a constant one. This constant ratio is called the coefficient of friction and is usually symbolized by the Greek letter mu. ...read more.


Relating Conclusions to Scientific Knowledge The weight of the trainer and the friction that it produces when dragged along at a constant speed are proportionally related because if the weight of the trainer is doubled, then the force with which the two surfaces are pushed together is also doubled, and so therefore double the force is needed to overcome the minute 'ridges' on the two surfaces which cause friction in the first place. Therefore the force needed for the trainer to maintain a constant speed will be doubled. Original predictions: My original prediction, I predicted that: "As the weight of the trainer increases, so will the amount of friction that occurs when it is dragged along a surface at a constant speed. I also predict that the amount of friction that occurs will be directly proportional to the weight of the trainer, and as the weight of the trainer doubles, so will the amount of friction acting upon it." On the basis of my results, I am satisfied that my prediction has been proven. In my table of results, you can see that the first, second and third attempt for a trainer weight of 5N gave results of 6.0N, 6.2N and 5.9N respectively. Thus giving me an average of 6.0N. Now, if you look at my results for a trainer weight of 10N, it can be seen that the readings for my first, second and third attempt are 12.5N, 12.2N and 12.3N respectively. This gives an average of 12.3N, which is an approximate doubling of the result for a weight of 5N, therefore proving my prediction that if the weight of the trainer is doubled, then the force of the friction produce will also double. ...read more.


Instead of using my arm to pull along the trainer, I would have preferred to use some sort of mechanical arm, or similar device, to pull the trainer along. If I was able to do that, then the force would have remained perfectly constant, and the reading taken could have been much more accurate, because the device itself could have measured and indicated the force it was exerting. This would also eliminate any fatigue that could have affected my arm whilst conducting this experiment, as a mechanical device will never become fatigued. If I were to repeat my experiment, I would ensure that I used a wider measurement range, even though I feel that the range I did use was very broad, if I were to use at least 20 different weights, possibly increasing them in 0.5N steps instead of 1N, then the results that I obtained would have been even more accurate. In addition to a broader range of weights, I could have done the experiment over different surfaces. Possible surfaces I could have used would have been lino flooring, tarmac, cement, grass, rubber, and indoor sports hall flooring. This would have given me a greater understanding of the force of friction, and also of the importance of a surface's effect on this force. In addition to a broader weight range and different surfaces, I could have experimented with different shoe types. Some options of different shoes are golf shoes, rugby/football boots, formal shoes, high-heeled shoes, hiking boots, sandals, slippers and even different types and brands of trainers. This expansion on my experiment would have provided me with different sole surfaces and tread patterns. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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