Coefficients of Friction for Glass

The Physics Factbook
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
An educational, Fair Use website

topic index | author index | special index


The static frictional force is the force that opposes the intended motion of two objects in contact. This force is equal to the coefficient of friction (µ) times the normal force(N).

f = µN

The value of µ depends on whether or not the object is in motion. µ static is usually higher than µ kinetic.

  1. First, we set up our station by plugging the LabPro into the laptop, and then opening LoggerPro.
  2. Next, we taped an accelerometer to a piece of glass with the arrow perpendicular to the horizontal sides of the glass.
  3. We placed the selected material (paper, copper, rubber, metal) on the glass below the sensor.
  4. Then we kept the glass flat on the desk increasing the angle until the object began slipping.
  5. Then, the material slid down the glass and one person form the group hit "stop" on the laptop and recorded the maximum component of the acceleration due to gravity parallel to the glass (a).
  6. We repeated the experiment three more times with the other materials.
photo of experiment     diagram of set up

The angle inclination is found using …

θ = sin-1 (a/g)

Start with Newton's second law of motion …

Fnet = ma = 0

W//f = 0

mg sin θ–µmg cos θ = 0

mg sin θ = µmg cos θ

sin θ = µ cos θ

tan θ = µ

Object (Material) key chain (steel) penny (copper) key chain (rubber) card (paper)
a (m/s2) 1.83 1.44 6.45 2.14
θ (°) 10.75 8.44 41.11 12.60
µstatic 0.19 0.15 0.87 0.22

Manuel Caban, Whitney Daniel, Alex Grisales -- 2005



Students Choice pages in The Physics Factbook™ for 2005


Another quality webpage by

Glenn Elert
eglobe logo home | contact

bent | chaos | eworld | facts | physics