Coefficient of Friction Lab
Creating a graph with Excel or Google Sheets is HERE

INVESTIGATIVE QUESTION: How precisely can we determine the coefficient of static friction between a wood block and other surfaces?

  • You'll need to do a wee bit of research to determine just exactly what we mean by "static" friction and why & how that is different from "sliding" friction or "rolling" friction.

  • You'll also have to work with your group to determine a method for measuring static friction in Newtons using our Labquests and force probes.
  • The goal here is to practice our measuring skills.... as well as do a wee bit of research.

  • Work with your team to *derive* a method for calculating coefficient of friction using formulae we ALREADY know.

  • You WILL be comparing your experimental values against REAL WORLD c.o.f.s so you'll have to make sure that you can find those reference values BEFORE you begin.

    • Create a shared Google Sheet with all members of your lab team.
    • Have each team member research c.o.f.s for wood and various other materials. THIS IS DIFFICULT. WORK to make the biggest list you can. THEN go and see if you can find those materials here at school or bring them in to test.
    • For best results, choose a material that has a single c.o.f. and not a range of values (that way you can check your results more precisely!)
    • Calculate % error to see the accuracy of your results:

[(Your experiemental Value) / (The actual value you found in your research)] / [The actual value you found in your research]

The result will be a decimal number.

Multiply that by 100 to get the actual percent error

    • Use your calculated error percentage in your error analysis. Generally speaking, the larger the error, the more expansive the error discussion needs to be. The smaller the error, the less expansive the error discussion needs to be.


  • Use that information to develop a plan for measuring the coefficient of static friction between your wood block and ONE surface in and around our physics classroom or from material(s) that you bring from home.

All labs are due one week from the last day of the investigation.

You SHOULD collaborate with your group members in all aspects of the lab -- including the written report. You should NOT, however, copy and paste anything from anyone else at any time for any reason. You should NOT take work from another person or other source and put your name on it... Ever.... For Any Reason.