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Friction at the quantum level

  1. Oct 4, 2008 #1
    Sorry if this question is too generic , but I want to know what friction is like at the atomic level where the laws of quantum mechanics dominate the interaction of matter.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2008 #2
    The basic cause of friction is force. So you are asking what is force at the atomic level?
     
  4. Oct 10, 2008 #3
    Atomic physicists do not consider friction, and their models accord with reality. This is a careful way to say that there is no friction at the atomic level in the currently accepted and tested model of physics.

    Models of friction appear when you have many-particle systems, for example a lattice of atoms that makes up a macroscopic solid. We can use the laws of quantum mechanics to predict the properties of the lattice, for example the solid may develop a jagged surface which would lead to heavy friction when the solid was rubbed against something else.
     
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