NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1002650
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-May
Pages: 42
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 101
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Historical Scientific Models and Theories as Resources for Learning and Teaching: The Case of Friction
Besson, Ugo
Science & Education, v22 n5 p1001-1042 May 2013
This paper presents a history of research and theories on sliding friction between solids. This history is divided into four phases: from Leonardo da Vinci to Coulomb and the establishment of classical laws of friction; the theories of lubrication and the Tomlinson's theory of friction (1850-1930); the theories of wear, the Bowden and Tabor's synthesis and the birth of Tribology (1930-1980); nanotribology, friction at the atomic scale, and new fields of research (after 1980). Attention is given to recent research, so giving the sense of a topic that is still alive and currently an object of interest, with interpretative controversies. The development of explanatory and visual models is especially stressed, in connection with students' common ideas and with didactic purposes. The history shows that many models proposed in the past have been modified but not abandoned, so that here the scientific evolution has worked more by adding than by eliminating. The last sections discuss problems and proposals on teaching friction and the possible uses in teaching of models, images and theories found in history. Concerning the role of the history in science teaching, the case of friction has particular features, because some recent developments are unknown to most teachers and many results, also not very recent, contrast with the laws usually proposed in textbooks. Here history can supply a number of models, examples and experiments which can constitute useful resources to improve student understanding, joining together objectives of cultural value and of better scientific knowledge.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A