Examples of Sliding Friction: What It Is in Simple Terms

, Staff Writer
Updated June 30, 2021
sliding friction example sled on incline
    sliding friction example sled on incline
    VectorMine / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

The term sliding friction refers to the resistance created by two objects sliding against each other. This can also be called kinetic friction. Sliding friction is intended to stop an object from moving. Review some sliding friction examples and discover some key facts about this phenomenon.

Basic Understanding: What Is Sliding Friction?

Friction is the resistance that occurs when two objects rub together. Sliding friction is one type of friction. Any time two surfaces that are solid slide across one another, sliding friction is created.

Factors that can affect the level of friction created include:

  • surface deformation (wrinkles, cracks, etc.) of the objects
  • roughness or smoothness of the surfaces of the objects
  • speed at which the objects are moving when they make contact
  • size of the objects
  • amount of pressure on either object
  • how adhesive the surfaces of the objects are

The amount of sliding friction created by objects is expressed as a coefficient, which takes into consideration the various factors described above.


Everyday Examples of Sliding Friction

Many examples of sliding friction can commonly be observed in daily life. Sliding friction can occur in objects of all sizes. Consider these sliding friction examples to help you better understand this concept.

Sliding Friction in Everyday Chores

As people go about their daily activities, they often create sliding friction without even realizing it. Any time you slide two solid objects across one another, you are creating sliding friction.

hand wiping counter example sliding friction
    hand wiping counter example sliding friction
    KEHAN CHEN / Moment / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license
  • a beverage coaster sliding across a table
  • pushing an iron across material
  • the frame and the edge of doors sliding against one another
  • sliding a block across the floor
  • pushing the bottom of a drinking glass across a table
  • the sliding of the rope and pulley when opening or closing a set of blinds or curtains
  • the friction between two books when sliding one into place on a bookshelf
  • the friction between the bottom of a book and the shelf when sliding the book into place
  • a vegetable drawer sliding against the holder in the fridge
  • a paper sliding against the paper holder once emitted from a copy machine
  • sliding a chair out from under the dining room table so you can sit in it
  • rubbing a rag across the counter it is being used to clean
  • sliding a glass door against the track along which it is moving
  • pulling snug jeans up over your legs when putting them on
  • sliding a check across the counter at the bank to give it to the teller

Sliding Friction With Heavy Objects

Some objects are so heavy that people often slide them when they need to be relocated rather than picking them up and carrying them. This creates sliding friction.

  • pushing a washing machine or dryer into place against the wall
  • sliding a stove out of its space so you can clean behind it
  • pushing a couch across the floor to move it
  • pushing a dresser on the carpet as you slide it to another part of the room
  • sliding cement or concrete blocks across the ground
  • pulling a heavy trash can down the driveway
  • sliding a heavy box that was delivered to your home across the floor

Activity-Related Sliding Friction Examples

Not all sliding friction results from household activities or pushing heavy objects. Sometimes the physics concept of sliding friction is all about fun and games.

girl on slide example sliding friction activity
    girl on slide example sliding friction
    Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / DigitalVision / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license
  • rubbing both hands together to create heat
  • rolling a bowling ball down a lane at the bowling alley
  • sliding across home plate to score a run in baseball
  • sliding a sled across snow or ice
  • skis sliding against snow
  • a person sliding down a sliding board
  • two playing cards in a deck sliding against each other
  • sliding a birthday card out of its envelope

Learn More About Friction

As these examples show, there are many different situations where sliding friction exists and where sliding friction creates resistance as objects rub against each other. There is a good chance you have encountered sliding friction examples in the real world. Now you will be able to recognize sliding friction examples when you come upon them since you have a better understanding of what sliding friction means. Ready to learn more? Explore some examples of rolling friction, which is the type of friction that occurs when a round object rolls over a solid surface, with friction slowing the rate of movement.