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Rolling Friction

In general, a friction is a resistive force opposing a motion. The surface of contact plays an
important roll on the motion of an object and the resistive force exerted on it. Before going into
the details of what is rolling friction let us take a look at the types of frictions encountered when
an object is in motion.
An object can be set into motion on a surface by different ways. The object may be pushed or
pulled by a force such that only a particular surface is in contact with the mating surface on
which it moves. In this case, the friction that resists the motion is called sliding friction. The
another way is to make the object roll by placing it on circular wheels. In such a case, the friction
gets reduced to a great extent, though, at the cost of additional weights of the carrier and its
wheels. But, still a friction exists when the object is rolled on a surface. This type of friction is
called Rolling Friction.

Rolling Friction Definition
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A Rolling friction is a resistive force that opposes the rolling motion of an object. Rolling friction
occurs when a round object rolls around a surface.One can obviously conclude by now that the
study of rolling friction is limited to wheels or rollers and the surface on which they move. That
is, for the same weight, the situation is same whether you put material A or material B on similar
carriage and wheels.
In a broader study, the rolling friction depends on the nature of surfaces in contact. When a coach
with steel wheel is pushed to roll on steel rails, it will travel much more distance than what a
similar coach with rubber tires does when pushed with the same force on a road. The rolling
friction in the first case is far lesser than in the case of the second.

Rolling Friction Formula
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When a rolling object like a wheel, roller or a ball rolls on a surface, generally the following
phenomenon occurs:
1. A deformation of rolling object occurs at the mating area.
2. A deformation of the surface occurs at the mating area.
3. The motion below the surface as a result of reasons 1 and 2.

Fr=urW where. the coefficient of rolling friction is dimensionless and just a number. Coefficient of Rolling Friction Back to Top In the Empirical Formula for rolling friction. The bump caused in front has to be constantly overcome. Fr is the resistive force of rolling frictional force ur is a constant. surface and on the weight of the object.The quantum of deformations in cases 1 and 2 depend on the nature of material of the object . The Coefficient of Friction purely depends on the set of surfaces involved in rolling. It is denoted by fr and is given above. the rolling friction formula can be given as. Secondly. This is due to rolling friction between the tyres and the road. called the coefficient of rolling friction for the given surfaces of contact W is the entire weight of the rolling object including the rolling mechanism Most of us have used cycles and some of us still do. Since. But empirically. the places of contact get deformed and a slight bump is formed. Its like constantly climbing an incline. Coefficient of Rolling Friction is the ratio of the force of rolling friction to the total weight of the object. it is a ratio of two forces. You must have noticed that well filled tyres make cycling a whole lot easier than the tyres that are not completely filled with air. For example. Unlike the case of sliding friction. a formula for the force of rolling friction is not easily derivable for the reasons already explained. we mentioned a constant ur . It is due to these two factors that rolling friction arises. called the coefficient of rolling friction for the given surfaces of contact. the coefficient of rolling friction in case of rolling of objects with iron wheels on steel rails is given by the following empirical formula. . The values of coefficient can be found on empirical formulas established experimentally for case to case. the adhesive forces between the two surfaces also have to be overcome constantly. When a body rolls over another body.

 The rolling friction has certain advantages as well. then the surface of the object in contact gets deformed which results in increase in rolling friction because of addition of sliding friction due to such deformity.. the process of plowing is more easy and hence less energy is spent in that process. Because due to the deformity.  Surprisingly. i. when both surfaces are soft.005) (18d)12(100W)14 where.ur = (0. in other words.  When the surface is soft on which an object rolls.  When the surface of the rolling object is soft because of the material or other physical consideration. This situation is experienced when you drive a vehicle on mud surfaces. the wheels spend some energy to clear the path. It leads to increase in resistive force. d is the diameter of the wheel and W is the total weight Rolling Friction Examples Back to Top The behavior of rolling friction is mostly based on case to case. the rolling friction becomes a dynamic sliding friction which is advantageous from safety point of view. let us describe some cases of rolling friction and explain their nature. This is the reason why you find it hard to drive a bicycle with less air pressure in the tires.e. When the rolling of the objects stopped suddenly due to application of brakes. increase in over all rolling friction. . the situation is better than the surface of the rolling object being soft. then there is a plowing action. why trains running on steel rails requires a long braking distance compared to a car or a truck rolling on roads with pneumatic tires. This is the reason.