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The Power of Friction

The Power of Friction

The frictional resistance force, shown above, varies exponentially with the number of turns around the fixed round object and exponentially with the coefficient of friction.  What that means is that given a big enough rope and a strong enough round beam, a child could gently lower a loaded log truck off the edge of a cliff as long as there are enough wraps around the beam.

Just be sure that the object you wrap around can take the force and the torque!  If the object can spin, you will just have a pulley and thereby almost no frictional resistance to help you.

This principle of friction is also used in the rope wrench.

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Knots Cartoon for March 2015
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