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Activity Discussion Science & Technology Some objects roll and others slide

  • Bunny

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    June 11, 2024 at 1:39 pm
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    The difference in how objects roll versus slide is primarily due to the different types of friction they experience.

    When an object rolls, it experiences a type of friction called rolling friction. Rolling friction is generally much lower than the sliding friction that occurs when an object slides across a surface.

    The key reasons for this difference are:

    1. Contact area: When an object rolls, it only makes contact with the surface at a small point or line. This results in a much smaller surface area in contact compared to an object that is sliding, which has a larger area in contact with the surface.

    2. Deformation: As a rolling object moves, the surface it rolls on deforms slightly under the weight of the object. This deformation creates a small rearward force that opposes the rolling motion, but it is much smaller than the force required to overcome sliding friction.

    3. Velocity differences: In a rolling motion, the point of contact between the object and the surface is stationary relative to the surface. But the outer edges of the rolling object are moving at a higher velocity relative to the surface. This velocity difference minimizes the friction force.

    In contrast, when an object slides, the entire bottom surface of the object is in constant contact with the surface, creating much higher sliding friction. Sliding friction is also affected by factors like the materials involved and the roughness of the surfaces.

    So in summary, the rolling versus sliding behavior of an object is determined by the physics of these different types of friction, with rolling friction being generally much lower than sliding friction.

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