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Conservative forces

  1. Dec 18, 2011 #1
    Why is friction a non-conservative force ?
    It arises to Electric interactions which is a conservative force(field).
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2011 #2
    Yes, friction is due to electromagnetic interactions at the atomic level, which are conservative. However, it is difficult, if not impossible to consider the individual interactions of the atoms. Hence the concept of "friction" on a macroscopic level based on statistical approximation. It is this treatment that causes frictional force to be nonconservative.
  4. Dec 18, 2011 #3
    But even then how can statistics change the nature of force,how can it change something that is the way of working of force.
  5. Dec 18, 2011 #4
    It is simply nonconservative due to the fact that it is not accounted for - in all. We know that the coefficient of friction concept models the reality of this force decently, but in consequence, it is nonconservative.
  6. Dec 18, 2011 #5


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    Statistics exactly IS the difference between conservative and nonconservative. A nonconservative force by definition is one that degenerates energy into heat, i.e. random thermal motion. Energy is conserved, but it becomes distributed over a great many degrees of freedom.
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