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Introduction to and factors affecting a force that opposes motion between any surfaces that are touching.

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Get a Grip!

Get a Grip!

Credit: Mr_H_1979
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-h-1979/3712936036/sizes/o/in/photostream/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

You have to be strong to be a rock climber, but that’s not all it takes. You also have to know about gravity and friction and how to use them to your advantage.

Why It Matters

  • Maybe you’ve never gone rock climbing but would like to try it. Or maybe you’re already an experienced climber.
  • Regardless of your rock-climbing status, it’s unlikely you can do the amazing rock-climbing feats that Brooke Radoutou does with such apparent ease. The daughter of two world-class rock climbers, Brooke started climbing around the same time she learned to walk. She’s already shattered several world records, and she’s only 11 years old!
  • You can see her awesome rock-climbing technique in this video: 
  • Brooke makes rock climbing look easy because she knows how to use gravity and friction to her advantage.
  • You can learn some tips for using these forces while rock climbing by watching this video:

Can You Apply It?

With the links below, learn more about gravity, friction, and rock climbing. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What is gravity? What is the center of gravity?
  2. Where is the center of gravity of the human body? When you move your arms of legs, what happens to your center of gravity?
  3. How does knowing the location of your center of gravity help you rock climb?
  4. When rock climbing, you should try to keep the side of your body turned toward the rock wall. Explain why.
  5. What force allows your hands and feet to cling to holds without slipping? Why do you think that climbers put powdered chalk on their hands?
  6. What is the technique called smear? What force does it use to help counter gravity?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Mr_H_1979; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-h-1979/3712936036/sizes/o/in/photostream/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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