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Friction Boards


Wooden sheets with various surfaces used to investigate friction.


Friction boards are used along with friction blocks to investigate the affects of friction forces. Boards can be easily made from a thin piece of plywood or similar approximately 50 x 20cm. make sure the ends are sanded smooth.

Different materials can then be attached to the wooden surface using drawing pins. These are used instead of glue so that damaged surfaces can be easily replaced. Surfaces can include:

  • Sandpaper
  • Sugar paper
  • Foam
  • Rubber / latex
  • OHP sheet
  • Carpet
  • Felt
  • Lino

The friction blocks or sleds are dragged across the surface of the friction boards using a forcemeter. Each surface should produce a different amount of friction which can be measured. A good selection of materials should be used where possible to give pupils a varied range of results from which to work from.


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