Bad Friction:Detailed Insight And Facts

It is difficult to distinguish between good friction and bad friction. Friction is beneficial to execute most of our activities, and in some cases, it affects our activities.

Friction can be bad due to its nature of restricting the body’s motion. Other than that, it can cause numerous effects on the body, which may affect the body’s functioning. In such cases, we say friction is bad friction. In this post, let discuss bad friction in detail.

What is bad friction

Generally, there is nothing like bad friction. But by the behaviour of the friction, we categorize them as good and bad friction.

When two irregular surfaces come into contact may be harmful. It generates heat and causes energy loss. Such frictions are considered bad friction. Most often, low friction is referred to as bad friction.

Bad friction causes the surface to wear out gradually, such that a lot of energy is required to overcome the friction results in the wastage of energy. But this bad friction is essential to execute the action.

Types of bad friction

Bad friction can be classified into three types; they are

Let us discuss types of bad friction one by one in detail.

Slipping bad friction

We all feel slippery while walking on the smooth surface like ice. We may slip and fall down and get hurt due to friction. Slipping is quite possible in smooth surfaces like ice that offer low friction yet are dangerous. While skating on the ice, it would be much harmful if we slip.

So slipping is considered bad friction due to the low friction offered by the surfaces.

Skidding bad friction

While driving on the wet mud road during the rainy season, the skidding of the vehicle may take place. The vehicle may skid due to the friction offered between the road and the tire. Since the road is wet, it is easy for the object to move on the wet surface because it offers very low resistance to move. But in the wet mud road, the low resistance creates danger. The vehicle may skid so that driving becomes difficult. Other than that, vehicles consume more fuel causing the wastage of energy. In some cases, the engine’s efficiency may be affected by driving on such a road.

bad friction
Image credits: Image by Gareth van Vollenstee from Pixabay

Sliding bad friction

In the hilly region, mud sliding is quite a common sequence. The sliding is due to the low friction. Friction is the reason for the hills to stand firm on the ground, but the friction causes the lands to slide in some instances. This would cause several damages on the ground too. Hence sliding is considered as bad friction.

In some instance, sliding over two surfaces cause much energy loss by generating heat. The generation of heat is due to friction raised between the surfaces in contact. This results in the dissipation of kinetic energy of the system.

Bad friction examples

Friction can be good and bad; it depends on the consequences and the behavior. The list given below is some bad friction examples.

bad friction examples
Examples of Bad Friction

Above mentioned examples are generally seen in daily life. A detailed explanation of the examples of bad friction is discussed below.

Wear and tear of vehicles

The friction between the engine of the vehicle is responsible for the wear and tear of the engine. In the absence of friction, we would get better mileage. The friction between the tire and road is the reason behind the wearing of the tire. This reduces the tire’s life, resulting in energy loss.

Forest fire

The forest catches fire automatically due to the friction. The friction created between the branches or between the two trees, when rubbed on each other due to heavy wind, catches fire. The bad sliding friction is the reason for the rubbing off the trees. Due to this, there is a significant loss of natural resources and energy.

Walking on ice

A very convenient example of slipping bad friction is walking on ice. It is difficult to walk on the ice, and we often slip while trying to walk on the ice is due to the friction between our leg and ice. Ice resists the motion against its surface in a negligible amount; thus, the friction between the surface and the leg is very low. This creates the problem to walk on the ice as low friction does not provide any grip to walk. So we slip on the ice.

Driving the car while raining

You may have felt it difficult to drive your car while raining. This is because of the bad friction. While raining, the roads are wet, and it does not provide sufficient friction to move on the road. Since the friction between the road and the tire is low on wet surfaces, the friction is considered bad friction.


The mudslides over the hilly areas are due to the low friction between the surface and the mud. If the mud particles are loosely bounded, then friction exerted between the mud and the surface is very low, which results in the mudslide. It is a better example of sliding bad friction.

Image Credits: Image by 政徳 吉田 from Pixabay

Cloth chaffing in the dry season

The chaffing of the clothes is a common scenario in dry weather. The chaffing may be due to moisture or due to fabric. It is irritation of the skin due to friction. The friction between the skin and the clothes causes such irritation in the dry season. This is the bad friction example due to the weather.

Slipping of horse or bulls while pulling a cart

While pulling the cart using a horse or a bull, they slip due to the friction. If the friction between the hooves of the horse and the surface is low, then the friction is considered to be bad friction which is responsible for the slipping of the horse. The horse must exert tremendous force to pull the cart, for this grip is essential. The horse will slip off if the surface is smooth and offers low friction.

Batsman slipping due to poor stance while hitting shots

While playing cricket, sometimes the batsman slips off while hitting the shots is due to less friction. While hitting the shots, if the batsman is not in the proper posture or is not ready to face the ball, this could happen. At that instance, the friction between the ground the foot of the batsman is low such that he could not balance himself due to the bad friction, and he may slip.

Skin burns

When you fall on the ground and slide over the ground for a distance, you will get skin burn and wound due to the friction. The friction that came into action, in this case, is sliding bad friction. If the friction is absent, you will never get hurt, and your skin will be safe.


One of the greatest inventions in advanced technology is the supercomputer. But we would have been provided with better performance of the supercomputer if there were no friction. The friction in supercomputers causes a lot of energy loss, and hence performance of a supercomputer is limited due to bad friction.

Is friction is good or bad for efficiency

From the consequences we had discussed in the earlier section, it is clear that friction decreases the engine’s efficiency.

Friction is necessary for all the vehicles to work correctly. The friction between the tire and the road is essential. And also, clutches in automobiles are working on the principle-based on friction; it is one of the main advantages of friction. But when it comes to the matter of efficiency, the friction is bad.

The decrease the efficiency is due to friction. In certain kinds of an engine, friction is the reason behind energy loss, releasing an unusual amount of heat. In some instances, the vehicles consume a lot of fuel due to friction. So there will be a significant loss of fuel as well. In some cases, the friction may also affect the engine’s functionality, which is also a reason to decrease the efficiency.

So friction is an enemy to designing efficient engines. By reducing friction, we can increase efficiency.

What is the difference between the good and the bad friction

Based on the advantages and disadvantages of friction, we can give the difference between good and bad friction.

Good FrictionBad Friction
Good friction provides a grip for walking on the ground.Bad friction between the two surfaces makes to fall and get hurt.
Good friction prevents the vehicles from skidding.Bad friction reduces the efficiency of the engine.
The friction between brake and wheel helps to stop slow down the vehicles and helps to regulate the speed.The bad friction is the reason behind the excess producing amount of heat results in the loss of energy.

Need to know Facts

  • The atmospheric friction plays a vital role in protecting us from the asteroid. When the space dust tries to enter the earth surface, the atmospheric friction reduces the speed of the dust particle, or it disintegrates the dust particles entirely and prevents them from entering the earth.
  • Friction can reduce the wind’s speed and prevent adverse effects on nature. The friction drags the wind across the surface and protects the buildings, trees and things to get into the wind.

Keerthi Murthi

I am Keerthi K Murthy, I have completed post graduation in Physics, with the specialization in the field of solid state physics. I have always consider physics as a fundamental subject which is connected to our daily life. Being a science student I enjoy exploring new things in physics. As a writer my goal is to reach the readers with the simplified manner through my articles. Reach me –

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