Coefficients of Friction for Steel

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Bibliographic Entry Result
(w/surrounding text)
Sullivan, James F. Technical Physics.USA: Wiley, 1988: 204.
Materials Static Friction Kinetic Friction
Steel on Steel 0.7 0.6
µs µk
0.7 0.6
Encarta Encyclopedia 2004. Microsoft Corporation.
Static Friction Kinetic Friction
Steel on Steel (dry) 0.7 0.6
µs µk
0.7 0.6
CRC Handbook of Physical Quantities. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997: 145-156.
Static Friction Kinetic Friction
Steel on Steel 0.74 0.57
µs µk
0.74 0.57
Weber, Robert L.; Manning, Kenneth V.; White, Marsh W. College Physics-4th Edition. USA: McGraw-Hill, 1965: 66
Static Friction Kinetic Friction
Steel on Steel (dry) 0.15 0.09
µs µk
0.15 0.09
Determining the Coefficient of Friction - Succeed in Physical Science. School for Champions.
Surfaces Static Friction Kinetic Friction
Steel on steel (dry) 0.6 0.4
µs µk
0.6 0.4

Friction is a resistive force that prevents two objects from sliding freely agaisnt each other. The coefficient of friction (µ) is a number that is the ratio of the resistive force of friction (Ff) divided by the normal or perpendicular force (Fn) pushing the objects together. The formula is shown …

µ = Ff/Fn

The two main frictions used are static friction and kinetic friction. The coefficient of static friction for steel is around 0.6–0.15 and the coefficient of kinetic friction is around 0.09–0.6.

The making of steel involves many processes and stages. The basic raw materials are coal, iron ore, limestone and various chemicals. Coal is transformed into coke. The coke is combined with limestone and ore to the blast furnace where it is transformed into steel. The steel is made slabs which are then processed into the end product ordered by the customer. Turning coal into coke is necessary in making steel because coal does not burn hot enough to melt iron ore. Coal in its original state is mostly carbon, however there are impurities in coal such as tar, ammonia etc. These impurities keep coal from burning hot enough to reduce and melt iron ore, therefore they must be removed through the coking process. Oxygen is used to remove some of the carbon and small amounts of other metals are added to make the right kind of steel. The molten is then poured into ingots and left to cool. The steel is now ready to be processed into new products such as car bodies and steel cans.

Eunice Chen -- 2004

Friction is defined as the force opposing motion. One type of friction is static friction. The lower the static friction, the easier it is to make an object start moving. Friction is given with the equation

f = µN

where µ is the coefficient of friction and N is the normal force. Normal force is the force exerted on an object by the surface and it is perpendicular to the surface.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Set up the equipment as shown in the diagram with the appropriate object.
  2. Press Collect on the LoggerPro program. Then, start gradually lifting the steel base.
  3. Once the object begins to slide off the steel base, press Stop on the program.
  4. Repeat the experiment for each object.


In order to find the component of the acceleration due to gravity parallel to the surface (a) you must first examine the graph of acceleration vs. time for each of the objects. Find the point where the graph stops a continual, gradual increase, and spikes. This is the parallel component of gravity. The acceleration is then used in the formula

sin-1 θ = (a/g)

where g is the acceleration due to gravity. This formula will give you the angle at which the static friction is overcome by the component of weight parallel to the surface. Next, you must calculate the coefficient of friction. At this angle, the parallel component of weight

W// = mg sin θ

equals the static friction

fstatic = µmg cos θ

Solve this for µ, and you find that

µ = tan θ

Material a (m/s2) θ (°) µstatic
Copper 3.95 23.76 0.44
Steel 4.03 24.28 0.45
Rubber 5.63 35.06 0.70
Paper 6.30 40.05 0.84

Michael Robbins, Daniel Saronson, Gafei Szeto, David Rozenberg -- 2005

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