Student Question

Why are wet surfaces more slippery ?

Expert Answers

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We require friction for walking or running or driving, that is, the surface that we think of as non-slippery are the ones that provide some friction to our motion. Liquids, when spread over a surface, reduces the friction that surface can offer to another surface. This happens due to low shear of water and many other liquids. Because of this the two surfaces do not come in contact with each other at as many points as two surfaces without any liquid would.  This reduces the friction and we perceive the receiving surface as slippery.

Loss of friction can be very dangerous, think about film of oil on a road surface or wet bathroom floor. That is why we wear rubber slippers and use rubber tyres for vehicles.

Hope this helps.

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