ANSWERS: 3
  • Think of it this way: Which would be easier to ride, a bike with a wheel in the front (low friction), or a bike with a ski in the front (high friction)?
  • Simply put, friction is like putting the brakes on. The more friction that exists, the more braking action takes place. Obviously, running an engine with the brakes on wastes a lot of energy. Friction converts energy which would otherwise be utilized for motion into heat energy. The more friction which exists, the less energy is able to be converted into motion, and is instead converted into heat. You can find a lot more information on friction here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friction
  • It converts energy that could have gone into useful work into wasted heat. For example, the friction losses in the bearings of a turbine driven generator take some of the energy required to turn the turbine and convert it into heat in the bearings, which means not all the energy used to turn the turbine is used to generate electrical power. A better way of demonstrating this would be in a car. Get in a car and drive it down the road at a constant speed of, say 30 mph. Now apply the brakes some. The brakes convert the kinetic energy of the car (object in motion) into heat through friction between the brake pads and the brake rotor in order to slow the car down. In order to maintain a constant 30 mph in the car, you now have to make the engine work harder (supply more energy) by giving it more gas to make up for the energy lost through friction in the brakes. Does this help?

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