The Force of Friction

Anytime there are moving parts or objects, engineers must be concerned about friction, or surfaces rubbing together. Scientists and engineers must understand how friction affects a number of situations like a boat in water or plane in the air where it is a disadvantage, or boots or tires on wets surfaces where it is an advantage! Student work with hands-on projects to learn about the principles of Force, Motion and Friction. Students will design, build and test their own hovercraft, which slides across the surface due to a bed of air between the craft and surface, thus reducing the friction. By the end of the day, students will be able to describe friction as a force that impedes motion and generates heat; students will be able to distinguish between static friction and kinetic friction and explain why friction occurs. Students will be able to describe common occurrences of friction, and describe ways in which friction can be reduced.