Understanding The Differences Between High vs Low Friction Materials

Rub your hands together as fast as you can. That heat you’re feeling? That’s the result of friction. That very same friction helps us run some of humankind’s most impressive machinery.

Friction is an inevitable result of materials rubbing together. Think about a car’s piston. When the piston operates,┬ámetals rub together, and friction is born. Too much friction and the pistons won’t move.

Car brakes also rely on friction, though in this case friction is positive. Brake pads rub against rotors to stop your car. The resulting friction is the what causes your car to stop.

Though all friction isn’t created equal, in some instances, we’re trying to create friction and in others limit friction. We adjust friction levels by utilizing high and low friction materials.

Aiming for precise amounts of friction ensures the system or machine is operating at 100 percent efficiency. Today, we’re explaining the differences between low friction materials and high friction materials.

High and Low Friction Materials: The Similarities

All friction materials have one thing in common. They’re used in an application that requires friction. It seems obvious, but it’s essential to understand that friction materials all serve the same end goal.

Any material used with friction in mind has properties similar enough to handle friction in at least some amount. When you’re talking about high and low friction materials, you often run into overlap.

Take plastics, for instance. Plastics are often friction materials, in both high and low friction applications. The plastics themselves are all somewhat similar regarding makeup. Small changes to their structure can affect how much friction they’re able to handle.

While not plastic, let’s use car brake pads as an example. Different brake pads have different stopping distances. They’re all using remarkably similar materials to stop your car.

Which brings us to…

High and Low Friction Materials: The Differences

Let’s keep talking about brake pads. Brake pads all use similar materials to help stop your car. However, altering those materials ever-so-slightly can affect stopping distances. Higher friction materials stop cars faster than lower friction materials.

High friction materials generate more heat, have rougher surfaces, and can have both longer and shorter lifespans than their low friction counterparts.

For the most part, when you’re dealing with friction, everything makes logical sense. Rougher materials have more valleys and hills that catch on other materials. Rubbing your hands together gets the extra-heat point across, and material lifespan changes due to various factors like hardness, specific application, etc.

Shopping for Friction Materials

Choosing the right friction material for your application ensures you’re operating both safe and efficient machinery. Subtle differences between high and low friction materials mandate that you’re hyper-aware of what you’re buying.

It’s possible for parts to come in a variety of friction levels. The wrong amount of friction could have severe consequences for your application. Our experts can help ensure you’re picking the right part for your needs, every time.

Let us help you get shopping today.

Posted in Industrial Equipment.