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EXPERIMENT 5-STATICS FRICTION

1. OBJECTIVE
IN this lab, you will make some basic measurements of friction. You will measure the
coefficient of static friction between several combinations of surfaces using an
inclined plane between three of the combination of surfaces.
This experiment enables the students to determine the static coefficient of friction (

s ) between specimens of different materials on different surface using the angle

of repose method.

2. INTRODUCTION
Friction is the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in contact. It can
be defined as an evil of all motion. No matter which direction something moves in,
friction pulls it the other way.
Static friction occurs when the two objects are not moving relative to each other (like
a desk on the ground). The coefficient of static friction is typically denoted as s. The
initial force required to get an object moving is often dominated by static friction.
Static frictional forces from the interlocking of the irregularities of two surfaces will
increase to prevent any relative motion up until some limit where motion occurs.
The coefficient of static friction s can be measured experimentally for an object

placed on an inclined plane (a.k.a. ramp, a.k.a. hill). The coefficient of static friction

is related to the critical angle c for the ramp, at which the object just begins to

slide.
Using what we have covered in class, you can derive this relationship yourself! At this
critical angle, static friction preventing the object from sliding down the hill is exactly
equal to the component of the objects weight along the hill. If the component of the
weight along the hill were just a little greater, it would overcome friction, and the
object would start to slide down.

3. SAFETY MEASURE
Before entering the laboratory, all students pay attention to this laboratory safety
guide.
Wear a proper attire (shirt, trousers/long pants, shoes, vest, helmet)

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No food or drink is permitted in the laboratory
Know the location of emergency exits, eyewash stations, safety showers, fire
extinguishers, and first aid kits and how to use them.
Read and follow the instructions in the laboratory manual and those given by the
lecturer.
Read and follow the operating procedures in the use of laboratory equipment.

4. EQUIPMENT/APPARATUS
Inclined plane apparatus (LS-12006)
Specimen (aluminum, steel, brass, wood)
Plane surface (steel and plastic)
Cord
Pulley
Weight blocks (10g, 20g, 50g, 100g)

Figure 1, Inclined Plane (LS-12006). Retrieved from: http://lotus.com.my/popout_12006.html

5. PROCEDURES
Part I
i. The specimen was laid on the center of the plane.
ii. Then the force (F) was applied by mean of a string running over a pulley to a weight
hanger. Weights were added to the hanger until the specimen began to move. This way
determined the approximate value of starting friction.

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iii. With weight on the block before, the block can be pushed to overcome starting
friction. The weights were added until the specimen started to move with constant
velocity. There were a lot of uncertainties to determine whether the velocity constant
or not.
iv. Investigate starting friction at different plane angles (inclined plane). Angles of 15 and
25 were used in this experiment. At each angle, the values of W were investigated.
Different angle gave different value of W.
v. The same procedures were repeated with another type of specimen. The data were
taken and noted to the experiment notes/manual.
vi. Procedure i-v was applied to two types of surface, which were steel and plastic
surface. After experiment, the data was noted into two difference tables, for steel and
for plastic. After all experiment was done, the observation of the result was applied.

Part II

i. The inclined plane was set up into flat surface.


ii. After that, the specimen was laid on the plane.
iii. Slowly one end of the plane was raised until the specimen starts to slide.
iv. When the specimen was started to slide, the angle scale on the inclined plane was read
and noted into the book.
v. Then the calculation was applied to determine the coefficient of static friction.

6. DATA
Part 1

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Figure 2, Experiment 1 (diagram)

F=0
Ffs=0
F=fs
F=s . N
F
=s
N
N=W
F
s=
W

Notes: W and F must be in Newton (N)


Steel Surface

Table 1, Experiment 1-Steel Surface

Aluminum Steel Brass Wood


Trial
W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g)
1 105 40 286 130 310 100 111 70
2 105 50 286 120 310 110 111 60
3 105 40 286 140 310 90 111 80
Average 105 43.3 286 130 310 100 111 70
s 0.41 0.45 0.32 0.63

Plastic Surface

Table 2, Experiment 1-Plastic Surface

Aluminum Steel Brass Wood


Trial
W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g) W(g) F(g)
1 105 40 286 130 310 70 111 70

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2 105 50 286 130 310 80 111 70
3 105 50 286 120 310 70 111 70
Average 105 46.7 286 126.7 310 73.3 111 70
s 0.44 0.44 0.24 0.63

Part 2

Figure 3, Experiment 2 (diagram)

F=0

Wsinfs=0

Wsin=fs

Wsin=s . N

Wsin
=s
N

Wsin
=s
Wcos

s=tan

Steel Surface

Table 3, Experiment 2-Steel Surface

Trial Aluminum Steel Brass Wood

1 19 20 11 35
2 19 20 11 34
3 19 20 11 35
Average 19 20 11 34.7
s 0.34 0.36 0.19 0.69

Plastic Surface

Table 4, Experiment 2-Plastic Surface

Aluminum Steel Brass Wood


Trial

1 20 22 22 26
2 20 22 22 26
3 20 22 22 26
Average 20 22 22 26
s 0.36 0.4 0.4 0.49

7. DISCUSSION
i. Compare the values of the static coefficient of friction ( s ) obtained in two

experiments above and explain.

Table 5, Comparison Table of the Experiment 1 and Experiment 2

s Aluminum Steel Brass Wood

Experimen
1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2
t

Steel
0.41 0.34 0.45 0.36 0.32 0.19 0.63 0.69
Surface

Plastic
0.44 0.36 0.44 0.4 0.24 0.4 0.63 0.49
Surface

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As we can see on the table, both experiments gave a different coefficient static
friction. We also found out that the differences are too much. It is different with
the theory. The theory mentioned that the coefficient of static friction should be
the same, should be constant. It means, both experiments should give us the same
coefficient static friction or at least gave us the coefficients which are the number
closer to each other.
We observed this condition as an experimental error. The experiment might be
done in a wrong way. The error may be occurred in the experiment 1. It is quite
difficult to find the right mass to make the specimen move in constant velocity.
We need to find the right mass which can make the specimen starting to move.
The existence of the errors made both experiment differs to each other. But in the
fact, based on the theory it should be the same, it should gave us the same
coefficient of static friction.
ii. Determine the relation between the static coefficient of friction ( s ) and the

angle of inclination .
Ideally the angle is not affected the coefficient of static friction. The coefficient
only affected the nature of the surfaces. It is not affected the coefficient itself, but
the coefficient only related to the angle of inclination in a certain condition. From
the second experiment (part 2) we know that when we put the object on the flat
surface, and slowly raised up one end of the surface to make the surface inclined,
we found that tan of the angle when the object started to slide on the ramp is equal
to the coefficient of static friction.
It only works in that condition, only when the object started to slide with a

constant velocity on the surface. The tan angle ( tan ) will be equaled to

coefficient of static friction between object and the surface. (Refer to the iv answer

tan =s ).

iii. Compare the static coefficient of friction ( s ) of different surfaces and explain

the differences.
The coefficient of static friction of an object will not be the same if the surface is
changing. It wont be the same if we put the object on the steel surface with if we
put the object on the plastic surface. It depends on what the objects contact on.
In the experiment 1 (table 1 & table 2), we can see that the coefficient on steel and
plastic surface are different. For aluminum the coefficient of static friction in steel

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surface is smaller than when it is on plastic surface. It means that aluminum is a
little bit difficult to move on plastic surface because the static friction is bigger
and it held aluminum stronger in the surface. For steel the coefficient on steel
surface is bigger than on plastic surface, it means the steel is a little bit difficult to
move on steel surface than on plastic surface. For brass, the coefficient in the steel
is also bigger than on plastic surface. It means the brass can slide much easier in
plastic surface than on steel surface. For wood, it is just the same. According to
the experiment 1, the coefficient of static friction of wood on plastic and steel
surface is just the same.
In the experiment 2 (table 3 & table 4), we also can see the differences between to
surfaces. For aluminum, the coefficient on plastic surface is bigger than on steel
surface. It is much easier to move the specimen on steel surface than on plastic
surface. This condition is the same with the result on experiment 1, even though
the coefficient is different. For steel and brass the coefficient on plastic surface is
bigger than on steel surface. It is indicated that steel and brass can be moved much
easier on steel surface than plastic surface. For steel and brass the condition is
different with the result condition on experiment 1. For wood, the coefficient in
steel surface is bigger than on plastic surface. It means that the wood can be
moved easier on plastic surface than on steel surface. Once again this condition is
different with the condition on experiment 1.
Both experiments gave us a different result. It may be occurred from the
experimental error.
iv. Prove that s=tan . Include a diagram of all the force on the specimen as it

slides down the inclined plan.


When the two objects are horizontal there is no frictional force. As the objects are
slowly tilted, the force of static friction must increase from zero to counteract the
component of the force of gravity that acts along the interface.
Eventually, as the angle increases, that component of the force of gravity exceeds
the maximum value of the force of static friction, and the top object slides off. We
will resolve all the forces and draw the body diagram of this condition.

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As we can see on the body diagram, the object slid downward. The forces

wsin make the object slide. When it slid, the friction force act oppositely with

wsin . The friction force tried to stop the object from sliding. We can calculate

the coefficient of static friction by using this concept. The submission of all forces
will be equal to 0. It is because the object was moving constantly. So there was no
acceleration and the submission of all forces equal to 0.

F=0

Wsinfs=0

Wsin=fs

Wsin=s . N

Wsin
=s
N

Wsin
=s
Wcos

sin
=s
cos

s=tan

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References
Fitzpatrick, R. (2006, February 02). Friction. Retrieved March 5, 2014, from Richard
Fitzpatrick Professor of Physics The University of Texas at Austin:
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/301/lectures/node49.html

Jim. (2011). Question. Retrieved February 19, 2014, from Yahoo Answers:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101204085308AAJ9djZ

Simanek, D. E. (2004). M-2 FRICTION AND THE INCLINED PLANE. Retrieved February
19, 2014, from Lock Haven University:
http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/scenario/labman1/incplane.htm

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