• anonymous
how can friction be a nonconservative force when its origin is actually an electromagnetic interaction and electromagnetic force is a conservative force?
MIT 8.01 Physics I Classical Mechanics, Fall 1999
  • Stacey Warren - Expert
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  • anonymous
One shall remember that friction is a derived force , contact force and depends on weight of the object (between which and a surface, the friction is exisiting) and also depends on coefficent of friction and also shall remember that friction comes into play only when an applied force is there (whether it is static friction or dynamic friction.) Also the direction of friction will adjust itself so as to oppose the applied force. While electrostatic or electromagnetic force is long-range, r-dependent one ( similar to gravitaional force), friction cannot be expressed as a function of r. For determining friction, we shall draw Free Body Diagram (FBD) , write Newton equation for components of all external forces parallel and perpendicular to the surface and solving them. So, all these points indicate that - ON MACROSCOPIC SCALE- friction is differently analysed in Mechanics. (It is worthwhile to remember that Tension in a string in a pulley-system also stated to be of electromagnetic origin but is determined only by writing CONSTRAINT EQUATIONS. Mechanical energy is not conserved when there is friction.There will be loss of energy, usually in the form of heat.Hence , friction is NOT conservative force.

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