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friction, resistance offered to the movement of one body past another body with which it is in contact. In certain situations friction is desired. Without friction the wheels of a locomotive could not "grip" the rails nor could power be transmitted by belts. On the other hand, in the moving parts of machines a minimum of friction is desired; an excess of friction produces heat, which in turn causes expansion, the locking of the moving parts, and a consequent breakdown of the machinery. Lubrication is important in minimizing friction as are also such devices as ball and roller bearings.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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