Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: friction etymology

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Where does the word friction come from and Why is friction so important????


Who discovered friction and why is it called that????

- Jess and Paree (age 12)
The English word friction is derived from a Latin root "fricare" which means "to rub".
I presume the cave men discovered friction when they rubbed two sticks together in order to make a fire.   In essence friction is a force that opposes relative motion between two objects.
It is important because theses forces mean a loss of efficiency in mechanical motion.

Lee H

Of course, friction can also be essential in other mechanical applications, such as the friction between car tires and roads.
Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

Follow-up on this answer.