6 Examples of Friction in Everyday Life

examples of friction in everyday life

Have you ever wondered what is friction and force? How do we relate them to our day-to-day activities? Since your childhood, you might have often come across the term called “friction.” One of the best examples is slowing down the vehicles on the road during the rainy season. Friction is a natural phenomenon that occurs when there is contact between two objects. Where there is friction, there will be a loss of energy. Friction occurs due to the roughness of the rubbing surface. During friction, the molecules in the surface will interact with each other. The force of friction will depend on the material of the rubbing surface. It also depends on the speed or intensity at which two surfaces come into contact with each other. To overcome friction, you need to work more and put extra effort. In contrast, force is any interaction that tends to change the motion of the object.

Types of Friction

Friction is classified broadly into three type’s namely static friction, kinetic friction, and fluid friction.

  • Static Friction occurs between two objects which are not movable. Even if a large amount of force is applied to the objects, they will not move.
  • Kinetic friction occurs between moving objects, that is when one object moves on another object. A good example is when you ride a bicycle on a road. The wheels of the bicycle move on the road. The bicycle will slow down until it comes to a halt. The two types of kinetic friction are sliding friction and rolling friction.
  • Fluid friction is a type of friction which acts between the layers of a viscous fluid; these layers move relative to each other. Liquids and gases are included in fluids.

Let’s discuss the examples of friction in daily life

1. Walking

examples of friction in everyday life walking

Without friction between the shoes and the ground, you cannot walk properly. If there is no friction, all of us would be sliding around without any control over ourselves. While walking, you’re pushing your foot back as you try to step forward. Friction holds your shoe to the ground so you can walk around. Since only a little amount of friction is present on ice, it is often a bit hard to walk on the slippery surface of the ice.

2. Driving

While driving vehicles and riding bicycles, friction occurs between the wheels of the vehicle and the surface over which the vehicle is traversing. The coefficient of friction determines the “stickiness” between two objects. If the friction is zero, the vehicle would fail to move forward. It is only because of friction that we are able to stop our vehicle.

3. Writing

examples of friction in everyday life writing

All of us write using either a pen or a pencil in our daily life. What happens when you hold your pen or pencil? Have you ever tried giving a thought about it? In case you are wondering, the answer to your question lies in the phenomenon of friction. It is the friction which enables us to write. The frictional force is created when the tip of a pen or pencil is brought in contact with the surface of the paper. In the case of writing with a ball-point pen, some sort of adhesive forces is acting between the ball and ink. When you start writing with a ball-point pen on paper, the ball starts rolling and the ink is deposited on the surface of the paper. The rolling of the ball invites rolling friction to come into play. Whereas, while writing with a pencil, sliding friction comes into action; and deposits lead on paper.

A similar concept is applicable when using an eraser. You apply some force on the eraser which helps in wiping off the desired content.

4. Rubbing of Hands for Warmth

You might have noticed that your hands feel warm when you rub them together for a few seconds? Friction is responsible for generating warmth in your hands. When two hands come in contact and are rubbed against each other, there is some amount of resistance which comes into play. However, if you just put your hands together, there will be no resistance, hence, no amount of friction. The action of scraping the surface of your skin back and forth against each other causes the molecules in your skin to move a little faster. The temperature will increase when the molecules move faster. This is the reason so as to why your hands are warm when you rub them together.

5. Skating

So as to skate on ice, it must be possible to slip and glide over ice. Most individuals believe it’s the slippery ice, but the reality is that ice is no less fragile than a soft concrete sidewalk! A thin film of water under the blade is critical for making a skate slide. As it turns out, the heat generated by the skate blade rubbing against the surface of ice causes some of the ice to melt right below the blade where the skater glides over the ice. Under the skate, this water acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and helping in sliding of the skate. By pushing off the ice with a force perpendicular to the skate blade, a skater propels himself forward.

6 Lighting Matchsticks

The head of a matchstick contains inflammable chemicals. The head of a matchstick contains sulphur, red phosphorous, glass powder, and an oxidizing agent. When a matchstick is rubbed against a rough surface, some amount of heat is generated and this heat if sufficient for the conversion of red phosphorous to white phosphorous. Since white phosphorous is highly inflammable, a matchstick ignites. The matchsticks usually fail to ignite when w because water lowers friction.


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