Rolling Friction Examples

Rolling Friction
Most people are familiar with the concept of friction and the heat generated from rubbing their hands together, for example. But many people-including automobile drivers-don't remain aware of rolling friction. This is the term that explains the resistance created by an object moving across a surface in contact with it. Other names for it, which include rolling drag and rolling resistance, all attempt to explain the phenomenon that causes our car tires to wear out, our sleds to melt snow, and more.
Examples of Rolling Friction:

1. Winter Fun

There are a variety of ways that rolling friction has an impact on winter activities. For everything from recreational events like skiing and sledding to elite-caliber sports like Olympic bobsledding, curling, figure skating, speed skating, and hockey, rolling friction plays an important part in the outcome.

As the object-the sled, the skates, the rock, or anything else-moves, friction heats the surface of the object that comes in contact with the snow or ice. The snow or ice is actually momentarily melted and then refrozen as the object moves across its surface. This factor is significant enough that it must be taken into account when planning a competition strategy, but can also just impact a person's enjoyment of the great outdoors during the winter months.

2. Vehicles

A lot of factors will impact the amount of rolling friction that occurs with a moving vehicle. The size, weight, shape, and surface area of the wheels will all play a part, as well as the surface and the path the road or track takes. An eighteen-wheeler carrying a heavy load will have greater rolling friction than a compact car, for example, and a train going around a curved track will have greater rolling friction than a train that is traveling on a straight track.

3. Toys

Skateboards, roller skates, and in-line skates all experience rolling friction when they're in use, but the degrees of friction they experience are different due to their size, shape, wheel alignment, and weight distribution. A skateboard supports the body weight of its human rider on four wheels instead of rollers skates' eight wheels, so it will experience greater rolling friction and come to a stop sooner than if its rider-the same person-was moving on roller skates. Roller skates will experience greater rolling friction than in-line skates, though, due to the wheel placement and the fact that the roller skates have a greater surface are coming in contact with the road.

4. More Toys

When playing any sport that involves a ball-like a soccer ball, baseball, or bowling ball, for example-rolling friction is a determining factor that must be taken into consideration when plotting the next move. Soccer players have to account for factors like rain water or dew on the playing field, which will decrease the amount of rolling friction as they kick the ball to other players, whereas bowlers have to account for grease and other grimy content coating the bowling ball or the lane when they throw.

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