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"What factors effect friction?"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE Physics Coursework

Patrick Brosnan

“What factors effect friction?”

There are different factors which effect friction, for example:

  • The area of an object which is in contact with the surface. The larger the surface in contact, the greater friction.
  • The texture of the surface and/or the object. The rougher/more uneven the surface/object, the greater the friction.
  • The weight on the surface. The larger the weight, the greater the friction
  • The angle of the surface. The greater the angle of the surface, the greater the friction.

I will investigate how the weight of an object effects friction. I will collect the evidence by doing an experiment.

A block of wood will be placed on a desk and a piece of string will be attached to the wood. This string will then be hung off the end the desk, however to avoid extra friction the string will be place over a pulley to stop it rubbing on the edge of the desk. Weights will be added to the overhanging string until the block of wood moves. This is what we are trying to measure. The experiment will be repeated a further 5 times with different weights placed on the block of wood. (200g, 400g, 600g, 800g and 1000g.)

F

P

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Middle

150

200

200

183

200

200

350

400

317

400

350

550

550

483

600

450

600

600

550

800

700

700

800

733

1000

800

1000

900

900

When collecting these results I attempted to be precise as possible. I took three sets of results and averaged them, this is to try and reduce anomalous results and make the others more accurate. I took six readings so I could produce an accurate graph.

        While obtaining my results I came across a number of problems which could effect the results. Firstly I noticed a number of problems with the pulley.  The pulley must have its own friction e.g. where it rotates. Also during the experiment I noticed that the string was not only on the pulley but rubbing the edge of the table as it left the pulley. Secondly, I noticed that the table was unsteady, therefore it was difficult to tell if the table was flat. Having the table at an angle would effect the friction also. I also considered that where the weights were placed on the wood would effect the friction. Finally, the tables texture is not consistent e.g. engravings. Some sections were smoother and some rougher, therefore where the wood was placed for each reading also would effect the friction.

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Conclusion

        As I was placing the weights on the wood I considered if where I was placing these would have an impact on the friction. I later found that this would due to further experiments and research. Therefore to keep my experiment fair, I would mark a point on the wood where the weights should lie during every experiment.

        There were other small factors I noticed which could have changed the results, for example, the angle at which the string was coming off the wood.

           Although there were a great deal of things I could have improved with the experiment I believe it was accurate and precise enough to support my conclusion. I think this because there were no major anomalies, which suggests that because of the consistency of the results they were accurate.

        I would find it interesting to further investigate static friction, by increasing the angle of the table. I think this would be interesting because by increasing the angle of the table gravity has a much more influential role to play. Gravity would become a bigger factor in the experiment.

Bibliography:

Ordinary Level Physics- A.F.Abbott.      

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