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Department of Physics

-University of Colombo-

General Physics Laboratory II


(2016)

ECL 206X – Determination of the


Coefficient of Friction for a
Lapped String

Name :- M.N.S. Fernando


Index Number :- S12527
Group Number :- 29B
Date of Practical :- 24th of October, 2016
Lab Partner :- D. M. D. L. R. Pramodya
Abstract

In this practical, we were given to experiment with the following.


 Determination of the friction coefficient for a string running over a wooden rod
 Determination of the friction coefficient for a string running over a nylon rod
with different surface areas.
Four experiments were performed in order to determine them.
This report contains a detailed analysis of the results obtained.
Finally conclusions were made taking into account the observations and results.
Final Results
Coefficient of Friction for Wood and Nylon String = 0.0771 ± (7.7288*10-6)
Coefficient of Friction for Nylon and Nylon String = 0.0899 ± (7.6531*10-6)
Coefficient of Friction for Wood and Nylon String = 0.0744 ± (7.4995*10-6)
(with a greater surface area)
Coefficient of Friction for Nylon and Nylon String = 0.0876 ± (0.0876*10-6)
(with a greater surface area)

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Contents
1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 4
2 Theory ................................................................................................................................ 5
3 Apparatus and Accessories ................................................................................................ 8
3.1 Part A........................................................................................................................... 8
3.2 Part B ........................................................................................................................... 8
4 Procedure ........................................................................................................................... 9
4.1 Part A........................................................................................................................... 9
4.2 Part B ........................................................................................................................... 9
5 Experimental Data ........................................................................................................... 10
5.1 Part A......................................................................................................................... 10
5.2 Part B ......................................................................................................................... 10
6 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................... 11
6.1 Part A......................................................................................................................... 11
7 Error Analysis .................................................................................................................. 14
7.1 Errors of T0 and T1 .................................................................................................... 14
7.2 Error of ln(T1/T0) ....................................................................................................... 14
8 Final Results..................................................................................................................... 16
8.1 Part A......................................................................................................................... 16
8.2 Part B ......................................................................................................................... 16
9 Discussion ........................................................................................................................ 17
10 Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 18
11 References ........................................................................................................................ 19
12 Appendix .......................................................................................................................... 20
12.1 Matlab codes for Part A ......................................................................................... 20
12.2 Matlab codes for Part B ......................................................................................... 21

-------------------------------- List of Figures --------------------------------


Figure 2-1 Apparatus used for the experiment .......................................................................... 5
Figure 2-2 Different ways of lapping the string around the rod ................................................ 5
Figure 2-3 Forces applying on a string segment ........................................................................ 6
Figure 3-2 Apparatus for Part B................................................................................................. 8
Figure 6-1 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Wooden Rod - Part A ................................... 11
Figure 6-2 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Nylon Rod - Part A ..................................... 12
Figure 6-3 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Wooden Rod - Part B .................................. 12
Figure 6-4 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Nylon Rod - Part B...................................... 13

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-------------------------------- List of Tables --------------------------------

Table 4-1 Table for measuring values for m2 of Part A ............................................................. 9


Table 4-2 Table for measuring values for m2 of Part B ............................................................. 9
Table 5-1 Measured values for m2 of Part A ........................................................................... 10
Table 5-2 Measured values for m2 of Part B............................................................................ 10

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1 Introduction
When two surfaces are firmly in contact with each other, there are several forces that act upon
each other. These several forces can be separated into two components as the component
perpendicular to the interface and the component along the interface. The component that is
perpendicular to the interface is known as the “Reaction Force”. It prevents one surface from
getting into the other surface. The component along the interface is known as the “Frictional
Force”. It prevents the two surfaces moving with respect to each other, until a force that is
greater than this frictional force is applied.
Frictional force is a combined result of electromagnetic interactions between the atoms of the
two surfaces as well as the condition of the two surfaces. For example, although a certain
surface may seem smooth at macroscopic level, at microscopic level it may not be smooth.
Frictional force is directly proportional to the reaction force between the two surfaces and the
roughness of the two surfaces. That is greater the reaction force, the greater the frictional force
and rougher the two surfaces, the greater the frictional force. It also depends on the material of
which the two surfaces are made of, due to electromagnetic interactions.
It is easier to make a model that describes the behaviour of the frictional force than to
understand the concepts behind phenomena that occur at microscopic level, which is why the
coefficient of friction has been introduced.
This report extensively discusses the determination of the friction of coefficient of a string
running over a wooden and nylon rod.

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2 Theory
The following apparatus is used to experiment with the frictional force against the movement
of a string lapped around a rod.

Figure 2-1 Apparatus used for the experiment

The string can be lapped around the rod in either of the following manners, both of which are
considered in this experiment.

Figure 2-2 Different ways of lapping the string around the rod

Here,
T0 = Backward tension
T1 = Tension applied at the moment the string merely starts to slip over the rod

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m1 = Mass placed in the scale pan A
m2 = Mass placed in the scale pan B
mA = Mass of the scale pan A
mB = Mass of the scale pan B
The backward tension (T0) and the applied tension (T1) can be expressed in terms of m1, m2,
mA and mB as follows.
= +
= +
Now let’s consider a small segment of the string going over the rod. The forces present on the
string can be schematically shown as follows.

Figure 2-3 Forces applying on a string segment

Reaction normal to the rod =

Reaction normal to the rod on the string segment = (2 + )sin( ) = T θ

Since the vertical forces should cancel out to each other;


− T θ=0
Thus,
=T θ

The frictional force ( ) on the string segment =

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Since,

= μ
By substituting for and R;
= μT θ
dT
μ θ=

By integrating;

dT
=μ θ

= μθ

By obtaining values for m1, m2, mA and mB the graph of versus θ can be plotted.

The gradient of the graph gives the coefficient of friction (μ).

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3 Apparatus and Accessories
The practical was performed in two parts based on the method in which the string is lapped
around the rod.

3.1 Part A

Apparatus shown in Figure 2-1 Apparatus used for the experimentwas used for part A. Both
the frictionless pulley and the rod were held using a stands which were firmly clamped to the
table. The segment of the string between the pulley and the rod was made horizontal, by
measuring the distance from the surface of the table to the string near the pulley and near the
rod and making necessary adjustments for the height of the stand holding the rod.

3.2 Part B

Figure 3-1 Apparatus for Part B

Apparatus used for part A was modified as shown in Figure 3-1 Apparatus for Part Bto perform
part B. The stand holding the rod was raised in order to make the string segment between the
pulley and the rod horizontal.

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4 Procedure
4.1 Part A

a) First, the apparatus was set up as shown in Figure 2-1with a wooden rod.
b) Thereafter the masses of pan A and pan B were measured using the electronic balance.
c) Then a 10.0g mass was measured using electronic balance and placed in pan A.
d) Subsequently masses were added to pan B until the string merely started to slip over the
rod.
e) At that point, the corresponding masses that were in pan B (m2) were taken out and
measured (i.e. the mass corresponding to θ= π/2) and entered in Table 4-1.
f) While leaving the same 10.0g mass in pan A, steps d) and e) were repeated for θ values
5π/2, 9π/2, 13π/2 and 17π/2 (i.e. for string lapped twice, thrice, four times and five times
around the rod, respectively)
g) After that, steps b) to f) were repeated for the nylon rod.
θ m2 (wooden rod)(g) m2 (nylon rod)(g)
π/2
5π/2
9π/2
13π/2
17π/2
Table 4-1 Table for measuring values for m2 of Part A

4.2 Part B

a) First, the apparatus was set up as shown in Figure 3-1 with a wooden rod.
b) Thereafter the masses of pan A and pan B were measured using the electronic balance.
c) Then a 10.0g mass was measured using electronic balance and placed in pan A.
d) Subsequently masses were added to pan B until the string merely started to slip over the
rod.
e) At that point, the corresponding masses that were in pan B (m2) were taken out and
measured (i.e. the mass corresponding to θ= 3π/2) and entered in Table 4-2.
f) While leaving the same 10.0g mass in pan A, steps d) and e) were repeated for θ values
7π/2, 11π/2, 15π/2 and 19π/2 (i.e. for string lapped twice, thrice, four times and five times
around the rod, respectively)
g) After that, steps b) to f) were repeated for the nylon rod.
θ m2 (wooden rod)(g) m2 (nylon rod)(g)
3π/2
7π/2
11π/2
15π/2
19π/2
Table 4-2 Table for measuring values for m2 of Part B

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5 Experimental Data
For both Part A and Part B;
Mass of scale pan A while empty (mA) = (90.32 ± 0.01) g
Mass of scale pan B while empty (mB) = (107.06 ± 0.01) g
Measured value for the mass of 10.0g mass (m1) = (10.24 ± 0.01) g

5.1 Part A

Mass of pan A = (90.32 ± 0.01)g


Mass of pan B = (107.06 ± 0.01)g

θ m2 (wooden rod)(g) m2 (nylon rod)(g)


(± 0.01g) (± 0.01g)
π/2 40.11 40.67
5π/2 130.33 300.31
9π/2 290.37 500.57
13π/2 596.01 890.24
17π/2 863.57 1597.81
Table 5-1 Measured values for m2 of Part A

5.2 Part B

Mass of pan A = (90.32 ± 0.01)g


Mass of pan B = (107.06 ± 0.01)g

θ m2 (wooden rod)(g) m2 (nylon rod)(g)


(± 0.01g) (± 0.01g)
3π/2 80.14 80.08
7π/2 200.24 550.64
11π/2 400.42 1000.20
15π/2 697.94 1598.18
19π/2 1098.45 1897.21
Table 5-2 Measured values for m2 of Part B

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6 Data Analysis
g = 9.8 ms-2
All the necessary calculations were done using Matlab.
Relevant codes are included in the appendix.

6.1 Part A

Figure 6-1 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Wooden Rod - Part A

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Figure 6-2 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Nylon Rod - Part A

Figure 6-3 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Wooden Rod - Part B

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Figure 6-4 Graph of ln(T1/T0) versus Theta for Nylon Rod - Part B

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7 Error Analysis
7.1 Errors of T0 and T1

= +

= +

= = 9.8

= = ±0.01 ∗ 10

= 2 ∗ 9.8 ∗ (0.01 ∗ 10 )
= ±1.3859 ∗ 10

= +
Since,
= = ±0.01 ∗ 10
similarly,
= ±1.3859 ∗ 10

7.2 Error of ln(T1/T0)


= ln( )

= ln( ) − ln( )

= +

1
=

1
=

= = ±1.3859 ∗ 10
Therefore,

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1 1
= 1.3859 ∗ 10 ∗ +

All the other error calculations were done using Matlab.


Relevant codes are included in the appendix.

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8 Final Results
8.1 Part A

Coefficient of Friction for Wood and Nylon String = 0.0771 ± (7.7288*10-6)


Coefficient of Friction for Nylon and Nylon String = 0.0899 ± (7.6531*10-6)

8.2 Part B

Coefficient of Friction for Wood and Nylon String = 0.0744 ± (7.4995*10-6)


Coefficient of Friction for Nylon and Nylon String = 0.0876 ± (0.0876*10-6)

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9 Discussion
When performing the experiment, the smallest available mass was 10.0g. That is the mass on
pan B could be increased only in steps of 10.0g which means an error of ± 5.0g. It was not
taken into account when performing the calculations, although it may have affected the final
results. As it can be seen from final results, the errors for each friction coefficient are in the
region of 10-6. This fact combined with the fact that the use of 10.0g masses cause an error of
± 5.0g, it is fair to presume that the actual error in this practical is much greater than what is
obtained.
It was observed during the practical that at the critical point, in order for the string to merely
start moving, the addition of a single 10.0g mass was sufficient. However the motion did not
stop when that mass was taken out. In order to stop the motion so many masses had to be taken
out. This phenomenon is due to the difference between static friction and kinetic friction. Static
friction is the frictional force that prevents an object at rest from moving. Suppose a small force
is applied to an object at rest. Then the frictional force caused by the static friction has the same
magnitude as that applied force, but it is opposite in direction to that applied force. Kinetic
friction is the frictional force that acts against the motion of an object that is moving. In this
case, the magnitude of the frictional force caused by kinetic friction is smaller than the force
applied to the object causing it to move. Also, for a given interface, the kinetic frictional force
is always smaller than the static frictional force. That is why the motion of the string did not
stop after the lastly added mass was taken out.
In both Part A and Part B of the experiment, the values obtained for the coefficient of friction
for wooden rod are nearly the same. In Part B, the theta angle of the thread is greater meaning
that the area of the string which is in contact with the rod is greater. But since more or less the
same values have been obtained for the coefficient of friction, it is fair to presume that the
coefficient of friction does not depend on the area of contact between the two surfaces. It is
further confirmed by the fact that in both Part A and Part B, the values obtained for the
coefficient of friction for nylon rod too are nearly the same.
Thus the three key factors that affect the friction are the normal reaction between the surfaces,
the material(s) of which the two surfaces are made of and the condition of the texture of the
two surfaces.

It can be seen from the equation = μθ that the gravitation acceleration terms which
are in T1 and T0 get cancelled out. Thus the ratio will remain unchanged if the experiment
was performed under a different gravitation acceleration. However, if it was performed on the
moon, the values obtained for T1 and T0 would have been different since the gravity on moon
is less than the gravity on earth. But that will not affect the ratio thus the coefficient of friction
will remain unchanged.

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10 Conclusion
Finally, the following conclusions were drawn.
 Friction does not depend on the area of contact.
 Friction does not depend on the gravitation acceleration.
 Friction does depend on the material type, normal reaction force and condition of the
surface.

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11 References

hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu
GPL 206X – Lab sheet

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12 Appendix
12.1 Matlab codes for Part A

clc;
clear;
mA=0.09032;
mB=0.10706;
g=9.8;
m1=0.01024;
T0=m1*g+mA*g;
X=[pi/2:2*pi:17*pi/2];
m2=[0.04011,0.13033,0.29037,0.59601,0.86357];
for (i=1:5)
T1(i)=m2(i)*g+mB*g;
Y(i)=log(T1(i)/T0);
E(i)=1.3859*10^(-4)*sqrt((1/T1(i))^2+(1/T0)^2);
end
errorbar(X,Y,E,'kx');
title('Graph of ln(T_1/T_0) versus \theta(rads) for Wooden Rod - Part A'),
hold on
xlabel('\theta(rads)');
ylabel('ln(T_1/T_0)');
s=0;
sx=0;
sy=0;
sxx=0;
sxy=0;
n=5;
for i=1:n
s=s+1/E(i)^2;
sx=sx+X(i)/E(i)^2;
sy=sy+Y(i)/E(i)^2;
sxx=sxx+X(i)^2/E(i)^2;
sxy=sxy+X(i)*Y(i)/E(i)^2;
end
D=s*sxx-sx^2;
M=(s*sxy-sx*sy)/D
C=(sxx*sy-sx*sxy)/D;
dM=sqrt(s/D)%?m;
for i=1:n
Y2(i)=C+M*X(i);
end
plot(X,Y2,'k'), hold off

clc;
clear;
mA=0.09032;
mB=0.10706;
g=9.8;
m1=0.01024;
T0=m1*g+mA*g;
X=[pi/2:2*pi:17*pi/2];
m2=[0.04067,0.30031,0.50057,0.89024,1.59781];
for (i=1:5)

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T1(i)=m2(i)*g+mB*g;
Y(i)=log(T1(i)/T0);
E(i)=1.3859*10^(-4)*sqrt((1/T1(i))^2+(1/T0)^2);
end
errorbar(X,Y,E,'kx');
title('Graph of ln(T_1/T_0) versus \theta(rads) for Nylon Rod - Part A'),
hold on
xlabel('\theta(rads)');
ylabel('ln(T_1/T_0)');
s=0;
sx=0;
sy=0;
sxx=0;
sxy=0;
n=5;
for i=1:n
s=s+1/E(i)^2;
sx=sx+X(i)/E(i)^2;
sy=sy+Y(i)/E(i)^2;
sxx=sxx+X(i)^2/E(i)^2;
sxy=sxy+X(i)*Y(i)/E(i)^2;
end
D=s*sxx-sx^2;
M=(s*sxy-sx*sy)/D
C=(sxx*sy-sx*sxy)/D;
dM=sqrt(s/D)%?m;
for i=1:n
Y2(i)=C+M*X(i);
end
plot(X,Y2,'k'), hold off

12.2 Matlab codes for Part B

clc;
clear;
mA=0.09032;
mB=0.10706;
g=9.8;
m1=0.01024;
T0=m1*g+mA*g;
X=[3*pi/2:2*pi:19*pi/2];
m2=[0.08014,0.20024,0.40042,0.69794,1.09845];
for (i=1:5)
T1(i)=m2(i)*g+mB*g;
Y(i)=log(T1(i)/T0);
E(i)=1.3859*10^(-4)*sqrt((1/T1(i))^2+(1/T0)^2);
end
errorbar(X,Y,E,'kx');
title('Graph of ln(T_1/T_0) versus \theta(rads) for Wooden Rod - Part B'),
hold on
xlabel('\theta(rads)');
ylabel('ln(T_1/T_0)');
s=0;
sx=0;
sy=0;
sxx=0;
sxy=0;

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n=5;
for i=1:n
s=s+1/E(i)^2;
sx=sx+X(i)/E(i)^2;
sy=sy+Y(i)/E(i)^2;
sxx=sxx+X(i)^2/E(i)^2;
sxy=sxy+X(i)*Y(i)/E(i)^2;
end
D=s*sxx-sx^2;
M=(s*sxy-sx*sy)/D
C=(sxx*sy-sx*sxy)/D;
dM=sqrt(s/D)%?m;
for i=1:n
Y2(i)=C+M*X(i);
end
plot(X,Y2,'k'), hold off

clc;
clear;
mA=0.09032;
mB=0.10706;
g=9.8;
m1=0.01024;
T0=m1*g+mA*g;
X=[3*pi/2:2*pi:19*pi/2];
m2=[0.08008,0.55064,1.00020,1.59818,1.89721];
for (i=1:5)
T1(i)=m2(i)*g+mB*g;
Y(i)=log(T1(i)/T0);
E(i)=1.3859*10^(-4)*sqrt((1/T1(i))^2+(1/T0)^2);
end
errorbar(X,Y,E,'kx');
title('Graph of ln(T_1/T_0) versus \theta(rads) for Nylon Rod - Part B'),
hold on
xlabel('\theta(rads)');
ylabel('ln(T_1/T_0)');
s=0;
sx=0;
sy=0;
sxx=0;
sxy=0;
n=5;
for i=1:n
s=s+1/E(i)^2;
sx=sx+X(i)/E(i)^2;
sy=sy+Y(i)/E(i)^2;
sxx=sxx+X(i)^2/E(i)^2;
sxy=sxy+X(i)*Y(i)/E(i)^2;
end
D=s*sxx-sx^2;
M=(s*sxy-sx*sy)/D
C=(sxx*sy-sx*sxy)/D;
dM=sqrt(s/D)%?m;
for i=1:n
Y2(i)=C+M*X(i);
end
plot(X,Y2,'k'), hold off

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