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Thermal energy

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  • What is the force that causes friction?

  • Friction is an everyday force that is created by two surfaces interacting. When these surfaces slide against each other, this interaction increases the thermal energy of the two surfaces (the temperature goes up).

  • What is the effect of friction on an engine?

  • Friction in engines and machines contributes to energy loss, which is what wears out the parts in a car (hence the need for lubricating oil). Friction is a non-conservative force, meaning energy is transferred to new forms not useful to the system (but doesn’t disappear from the universe, see conservation of energy).

  • What is the thermal energy generated during friction braking?

  • Figure 1. The thermal energy generated during friction braking can be seen in this friction brake/rotor set-up during stress testing. Friction is an everyday force that is created by two surfaces interacting. When these surfaces slide against each other, this interaction increases the thermal energy of the two surfaces (the temperature goes up).

  • What are the different types of friction?

  • Friction is a force that opposes the motion of an object. Explore the different kinds of friction (sliding, fluid, rolling, kinetic, and static), how friction works, how it’s calculated, and when it causes problems.

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