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ERIC Number: EJ852868
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Choose Wisely: Static or Kinetic Friction--The Power of Dimensionless Plots
Ludwigsen, Daniel; Svinarich, Kathryn
Physics Teacher, v47 n3 p158-161 Mar 2009
Consider a problem of sliding blocks, one stacked atop the other, resting on a frictionless table. If the bottom block is pulled horizontally, nature makes a choice: if the applied force is small, static friction between the blocks accelerates the blocks together, but with a large force the blocks slide apart. In that case, kinetic friction still forces the upper block forward but with less acceleration than the lower block. The choice, then, lies in the relative terms--what is meant by small and large? After a confusing experience during a recent exam, we've found a demonstration and graphical presentation that can help clarify the distinction between static and kinetic friction.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A