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Computing coefficient of friction without experiment

  1. Feb 6, 2013 #1
    Is there theoretically any way to compute a coefficient of friction (solid on solid) without an experiment between the two materials? Say, some kind of simulation, or perhaps comparing both materials to an intermediary material?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2013 #2
    If you can trust Wikipedia,

    "... Friction is not itself a fundamental force but arises from fundamental electromagnetic forces between the charged particles constituting the two contacting surfaces. The complexity of these interactions makes the calculation of friction from first principles impossible and necessitates the use of empirical methods for analysis and the development of theory. ..."



    From search,


    Sounds like a challenge, can't be done! Start calculating, you know what the answer has to be.
  4. Feb 8, 2013 #3
    I'm sure it CAN be done. We just don't understand enough about it and/or don't have powerful enough computers. Yet.
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