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Why does ice have no friction?

  1. Jun 6, 2010 #1
    If you come in contact with any object, it is not going to resist your movement right, why doesn't ice do this much. What chemical property is responsible for this?When I slide in ice, am I coming into less contact with ice, I don't understand. Thanks :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 6, 2010 #2
    when you slide on ice, you push with your weight. So it melts at the interface (ice and you). Therefore you slide. (sliding on thin layer of water..)
  4. Jun 6, 2010 #3
    be careful when you say "why does ice have no friction" this is misleading compared to what you are asking since Ice doesn't have no friction but relatively little as you have identified.
  5. Jun 6, 2010 #4


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    like rajini has said, ice melts as you slide against it.
    take into consideration the water formed as ice melts, it would decrease the friction between the ice and the object.
    there would still be friction between ice and an object or you would be able to slide indefinitly
  6. Jun 6, 2010 #5


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    Science Advisor

    This is a common myth. The weight of a guy of 70 kg would cause a decrease of the melting point of ice which is on the order of 0.2 degrees. For skiing, sledging, and skating, friction causes a water film to build up which allows efficient skating. Apart from that a small water film of only a few nanometres thickness is always present due to pressure-independent surface effects.

    See for example:
    S. C. Colbeck, "Pressure melting and ice skating", American Journal of Physics, October 1995, Volume 63, Issue 10, pp. 888-890

    for details.
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