Study P6 Science Interaction of Forces: Friction - Geniebook

Interaction Of Forces: Friction

In this article, you will be introduced to the concept of frictional force and its effects on moving objects according to the Singapore Primary 6 Science Syllabus.

 

What is a Force?

A force can be defined as a push or a pull.  When an object pushes or pulls on another object, the first object exerts a force on the second object.  A force cannot be seen but the effects of a force can be seen or felt when it is applied on other objects.

The effects of forces are:

  • stop a moving object
  • change the direction of a moving object
  • make a stationary object to start moving
  • change the shape and/or size of an object
  • increase or decrease the speed of a moving object

There are four types of forces that you will learn in Singapore Primary 6 Science: frictional force, elastic spring force, magnetic force and gravitational force.

However, we will be focusing on frictional force in this article.

 

What is Friction Force?

Frictional force (or friction) is a force that opposes or resists movement (motion) of one surface past another.  

For example:


 

When you push a wooden box from the left to right as shown in the diagram above, the direction of motion of the wooden box will be in the direction of the force which is from left to right. As frictional force opposes motion, the direction of frictional force between the box and the ground will be in the opposite direction of motion which is from right to left as illustrated in the diagram above.

 

The amount of friction force depends on:

  1. The type of surfaces rubbing against each other


 

There is more friction between an object and a rough surface as compared to a smooth surface. Thus, an object will move a shorter distance when it is being pushed over a rough surface as compared to being pushed over a smooth surface.

This is the reason why we have a higher tendency to slip and fall while walking on a smooth surface as compared to a rough surface.

 

  1. Mass of the object

More force is needed to move an object of a larger mass compared to an object of a smaller mass.

 

Effects of Friction Force

Let us look at the various effects of frictional forces.

  • Frictional force opposes motion.

  Effect (s)

Advantage (s)

  • Friction between the soles of our shoes and the ground helps us to walk without slipping.
  • Friction between an object and our hands helps us to hold/grab the object without dropping.

Disadvantages (s)

  • Friction causes wear and tear of objects such as the soles of shoes.
  • More force is required to move an object on a rough surface as compared to a smooth surface.

    i.e. More force is needed to push a box over a rough concrete floor as compared to a smooth marble floor.

 

  • Frictional force slows down and stops moving objects.

  Effect (s)

Advantage (s)

  • Friction helps moving objects to stop.

    i.e. The friction between the brakes and the wheels enable the cars to stop at the traffic lights.

Disadvantages (s)

  • A force greater than friction must be applied in order to keep the object moving.

 

  • Frictional force produces heat.

  Effect (s)
Advantage(s)
  • Friction produce heat to keep warm.

    i.e. Rubbing our hands together will produce heat to keep our hands warm when we are cold.
Disadvantages (s)
  • Unnecessary heat is produced between moving parts.

    i.e. The heat produced between moving parts of machines may cause the machines to spoil easily.

 

How to reduce frictional force?

Frictional force can be reduced with the following:

 

  Examples
Applying lubricants between moving objects Apply oil on the hinges of the door to reduce the friction at the hinges to allow the door to be opened smoothly.
Place ball bearings between moving parts Place ball bearings between moving parts of machinery to reduce friction between the moving parts. This reduces the amount of heat that is being produced in the machine.
Use rollers and wheels to move objects from one place to another Rollers are used in conveyor belts to help move the objects on the belts from one end of the room to the other end.
The wheels of the trolleys help to reduce the friction between the trolley (and its items on it) and the ground so that the items can be transported or moved easily.


 

Conclusion

In this article, we learned that frictional force is a force that opposes motion when two surfaces are in contact. We also looked at the effects of frictional force on the movement of objects. We also learnt about what we can do to reduce frictional force between objects.


 

Test Your Concepts

Answer the following questions based on the concepts we’ve covered in this article. If you are unclear, you may want to revisit the relevant section to revise the concepts.

 

Question 1:

A force can __________ a moving object.

  1. can stop
  2. change the mass of
  3. change the shape of
  4. increase the speed of

 

  1. A and B
  2. A and D
  3. B and C 
  4. C and D

 

Solution:

(2) A and D

Explanation:

A force can cause a moving object to stop moving and also can cause the moving object to change its speed.


 

Question 2:

A heavy load was pulled across a glass surface in the direction of the pulling force as indicated in the diagram below:


 

Which of the following arrows shows the direction of the frictional force?

 

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D

 

Solution:

(3) C

Explanation:

The direction of motion of the load is in the direction of the pulling force. Since the frictional force opposes the motion when two surfaces are in contact, the frictional force will act in the direction of C.


 

Question 3:

Joey released a wooden block at point X of a ramp with surface S.  She recorded the time taken for the block to reach point Y.

She repeated the experiment with three identical ramps with surfaces T, U and V and recorded the results in the table as shown below.

Surface Time taken for the wooden block to move from point X to point Y (s)
S 10
T 25
U 18
V 40

Which of the following surfaces, S, T, U or V, shows the least amount of friction between the surface of the wooden block and the surface of the ramp?

 

  1. S
  2. T
  3. U
  4. V

 

Solution:

(1) S

Explanation:

We can use the CER method to analyse this question.

Claim: Surface S

Evidence: Shortest time taken for the wooden block to move from point X to point Y

Reasoning: Surface S is the smoothest surface, least friction between surface S and the wooden block.

The amount of time taken for the wooden block to move from point X to point Y is the shortest. This shows that surface S is the smoothest surface and there is the least friction between surface S and the wooden block. Thus, there is the least amount of friction between the surface of the wooden block and the surface of the ramp


 

Continue Learning
Interaction: Introduction to Force Living Together
The Environment And Relationships Food Chains: Roles And Relationships
Interaction Of Forces: Friction Food Webs: Roles And Relationships
Energy In Food  

 

Resources - Academic Topics
Primary
Primary 1
Primary 2
Primary 3
Primary 4
Primary 5
Primary 6
English
+ More
Maths
+ More
Science
Interaction: Introduction to Force
Living Together
The Environment And Relationships
Food Chains: Roles And Relationships
Interaction Of Forces: Friction
Food Webs: Roles And Relationships
Energy In Food
+ More
Secondary
Secondary 1
Secondary 2
Secondary 3
Secondary 4
+ More
Sign up for a free demo
(P1 to S4 levels)
Our Education Consultants will get in touch to offer a complimentary product demo and Strength Analysis to your child.
Ready to power up your
child's academic success?
Let our Education Consultants show you how.
*By submitting your phone number, we have your permission to contact
you regarding Geniebook. See our Privacy Policy.