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Friction: Advantages and Disadvantages

Aug 22, 2022

Key Concepts

• Advantages of friction

• Disadvantages of friction


Friction force opposes or resists the relative motion between the two surfaces of objects in contact. It always acts in the direction opposite to that of the applied force or in the direction opposite to which an object moves or tries to move. It is a contact force. There are a few advantages and a few disadvantages of friction in daily life. In this session, we are going to list and explain each one of them. 


Advantages of friction: 

Friction can be increased by increasing the roughness of the surfaces in contact. This will increase the irregularities between the surfaces. It plays a very important role in our daily life. Without friction we are a handicap. 

 There are many advantages of friction. A few of them are: 

  1. Fixing the nail in the wood or wall.  
Fixing of nail 
  1. A person can climb a mountain or trek because of the friction developed between the surface and the shoes. 
 person climbing mountain 
  1. Riding a horse. 
  1. Walking on any surface. 
  1. Stopping vehicles on the roads when we want them to. 
  1. Writing on paper. 
Writing on paper 
  1. Holding any object using your hands. 
  1. Asteroids burn in the atmosphere before reaching the earth due to friction and save lives on the Earth. 
Asteroid burning in atmosphere 
  1. Generate heat when we rub our hands during winter. 
 Rubbing of hands 
  1. Helpful in eating and drinking. 
  1. Trains can run on the rails because of friction. 

Disadvantages of friction: 

Friction can be decreased by reducing the roughness of the surface in contact. This will decrease the irregularities between the surface but still, it cannot be made zero. Even though friction is very important in our daily life, it also has a few disadvantages. 

 There are many disadvantages of friction. A few of them are: 

  1. It produces heat in various parts of the machine. 
Heating of parts of machine
  1. It causes wear and tear of the machines. 
 Wear and tear of machines 
  1. It causes moving objects to stop even if we do not want to.  
  1. Stopping vehicles when it is not required. 
  1. Wearing out of soles. 
Wearing out of shoes 
  1. Slows down the pace of motion as a frictional force acts in the opposite direction. 
slowing down of vehicle 
  1. Energy is wasted as a certain amount of energy is converted to heat energy, thus reducing the efficiency of the appliance or machine. 
  1. Exerting more power in the machines. 
  1. Wearing out tires. 
Wearing out of tires 
  1. Opposing the motion of an object. 
  1. Wearing out of stone steps. 
 Wearing out of stone steps 
  1. Automobile engines consume more fuel which is a money loss. 

Questions and answers 

Question 1: Why do brake pads of bicycles have to be replaced quite often?  


The brake pads of the bicycle need to be replaced to ensure that they work properly to stop the bicycle. By frequent use of the brakes, the brake pads are worn out due to friction, which may result in slipping of brake pads on the rim of the cycle when brakes are applied. 


Question 2: What enables us to fix a nail in a wall & knot of lace to be tied?  



It is the friction between the surface of the nail and the wall that keeps the nail intact with the wall. 

Even knots in the ropes are held together due to the force of friction. 

QUESTION 3: What makes the steps of foot over-bridges at Railway stations to wear out slowly? 


The force of friction between the sole of the shoes and the step brings about wear and tear of the surface of steps of the railway over the bridge. 

Since the amount of footfall in a railway station is very high, the wear and tear is significant. 


1. There are a few advantage of friction:

• Climbing

• Riding • Walking

• Stopping vehicles

• Writing

• Holding

2. There are a few disadvantages of friction:

• Produces heat

• Causes wear and tear

• Causes moving objects to stop

• Stopping vehicles

• Slows down the speed

• Energy is wasted


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