Science Friction
Duration: 1 week

The “Science Friction” Project

The goal of Science Friction is to help students understand that Physics is all around us, even on the very ground we walk on. Students will be creating a software program for the theatre industry to calculate how sticky the floors are in the movie theatres by modeling friction to adhesion. Movie theatres, which are notorious for having sticky floors, were the “sole” inspiration for this project.

Scope of Work

Every student is responsible for creating the stickiest surface possible by maximizing the coefficient of friction (pronounced mu). The student will then create a software program that calculates mu for any given surface that is marketable to the theatre industry.

-- One 9”X9” Linoleum Square
-- A Street Hockey Puck
-- One Wood Plank
-- Duct Tape
-- Tape Measure
-- Microsoft Excel


Picture from Nelson Toons


Linoleum Square
Ramp Friction
Software Program
Digital Portfolio


The Linoleum Square must be:
-- Viscous due to ONLY food or drinks (No gum or taffy)
-- Free of fowl odors. Sticky not stinky!
-- Free of potential mold

The Ramp Friction must be completed before testing linoleum square.

The Software Program must:
-- Calculate Coefficient of Friction (mu)

-- Have entry fields for the angle (in degrees) of the ramp and the mass (in kg) of the hockey puck

-- Display generated values, such as theta (in radians), W (in N & lbs), Ff (N), FN (N), & mu
-- Calculate % increase from Control mu to Sticky mu
-- Be a User-Friendly, and
-- Exceeding Expectations: Have Bonus Features (if possible)

The Digital Portfolio must include:
-- Product name, description, and features (including Bonus)
-- A working hyperlink to the software program
-- Equations used and assumptions made
-- An image of the Research & Development (R&D) test equipment
-- Discuss the values of sticky & control mu
-- Discuss the % difference

Grading Criteria

The varying weights for the following criteria will determine the overall grade.
-- Coefficient of Friction & Software Program
-- Thoroughness & Thoughtfulness
-- Deadline & Deliverables
-- Work Ethic & Behavior
-- Bonus Features (if possible)


By participating in Science Friction, the students are agreeing to all the safety issues discussed in class.

Student Work

Beta Software [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

© Copyright 2004 Alfred Solis. All Rights Reserved.