Q:

How is friction helpful to us?

A:

Friction is a force that works against motion. While walking, friction helps us maintain our stability and prevents us from slipping. Friction also works the same way with cars and vehicles in general, preventing them from skidding and helping them stop when the brakes are applied.

Consider two different situations. In one situation, you are walking on a pavement on a nice warm day, feeling the concrete beneath your shoes. In the second situation, you are walking on the same pavement on an icy winter day, feeling the slick ice beneath your shoes. In the second scenario, the ice reduces the friction, which causes you to slip. In the first scenario, there is more friction between your shoes and the concrete. Since friction is a force that works against motion, the friction between your shoes and the concrete works against the motion of you slipping and falling.

Friction is also necessary to perform many simple tasks in our daily lives. Take writing for example. When you hold your pen or your pencil, it is the friction between your finger tips and the pen that keeps the pen from sliding out of your hand. Think of trying to sand a block of wood or cutting a block of wood in half with a saw: friction is at work in both cases.

Even though friction is popularly viewed as a force that increases the gas consumption of vehicles or one that causes heat to be generated between moving parts, it makes the world a much safer place to live in and most certainly helps us increase our productivity.


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