As the basic definition goes, friction opposed relative sliding between two surfaces in contact. A common misconception is that friction opposes motion. Following are some fun facts about friction. I’ll also include the findings of my discovery in the field of friction.
Almost all the work you do in daily life relies on friction. Friction is an electromagnetic force. It’s basically the nuclei of one surface pulling the electrons on the other surface and vice versa effecting in the two surfaces holding each other. So, whenever you pull or hold something, you are able to do it because of friction.
Many people wonder how our universe would have been if friction was not there. Well, our universe wouldn’t have existed if friction had not been present. Yes, that is correct. As I said, friction is an electromagnetic force acting between atoms of two surfaces. That means, wherever there are atoms, there is electromagnetic force and thus, there is friction. So, it can be said that friction is an unavoidable outcome of the existence of atoms. Atoms form molecules which are held together by electromagnetic force or friction which help in forming matter. Microbes, animals, us, the earth, the other planets, the stars, none of them would exist without matter and therefore friction. All that the universe would have had is floating electrons and nuclei of elements.
Friction is the reason why we can move. When we walk, what is happening between our feet and the ground? Effectively, we are trying to slide the feet backwards and the friction pushes us forward. It is almost the same for cars and motorcycles or anything that moves on wheels. Yes, it is undisputed that sliding forward on a frictionless surface or while being levitated is most energy efficient but we are not able to do that yet on a daily basis.
Life exists because of friction. It is needless to say that without friction there won’t be any matter and life can’t even find a basis to start on. Let’s say there was accidentally a surface formed in this universe, containing only nuclei and electrons just moving in contact with each other due to a common momentum (momentum is the product of mass and velocity of a body). Still, there is no chance of formation of the type of life known to us on this surface without friction. The reason is life needs binding of atoms and then matter flowing over other matter which can only happen if friction is present. Otherwise, binding of atoms based only on perfect combination of arbitrary momenta is highly improbable.
- Now, I’ll give some information about my discovery related to friction between sliding surfaces or in one word tribology. Me under the guidance of my professor Dr. S K Roychowdhury, a man I place in high regard discovered that X-rays are emitted when a surface slides on another surface. This work was further carried on by G. N. Krishna. The details can be found in: X-Ray Emission during Rubbing of Metals, Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014) 229-235, Tribology in Industry, Tribology in Industry
That is all I have to say on this subject till now.