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The Sound of Friction (to the tune of 'Sound of Silence')


Ken Ferrier and Antoni Chan

Hello friction my old friend
I've come to ponder you again
Because this problem that I am doing
Requires an object to be moving
And this problem 
Has caused me to beat my brain
Against the wall
It makes the sound of friction

You see I've got this blocky thing
Resting on a coffee table
The tables's tilted at 0 degrees
So I can calculate cosine with ease
And the block has a mass of 20 kilograms
It's made of spam
Which is short for spiced ham

So I've got this block of spam 
And it's attached to a rope
And the rope goes over a pulley
At the edge of the coffee table
And the other side of the rope is attached to a fish
The fish is dead
It has a mass of X

The question tells us to find X
So that the block slides off the table
And it tells us that spam has a Mu
Of point five when it is at rest
And you ask, "Hey, what the Hell is Mu?"
It occurs to you
That you know nothing...
about fiction

Well, friction is a force 
Opposing the motion
It depends on the mass of the block
And not on the surface area
And also on the coefficient of friction
Which is just a property 
Of the two...

The equation goes like this:
Friction equals N times Mu
Where N is the normal force
Acting orthogonally to the plane
And N is subject to Newton's Second Law
F equals M A
And here A is...
Acceleration due to gravity

So now we calculate the force
Needed to exceed friction
Recall that friction equals N times Mu
And N equals M times A
And then, you multiply by the constant Mu
Which is point five
And your answer... 
Is 98 Newtons

So the fish must cause a force
Greater than 98 Newtons
And we calculate X this way
98 is less than X times A
Where A is the acceleration due to gravity
The answer says
That X is greater...
than 10 kilograms

And now you know all about friction
And how to apply it to the world
If you ever have an inclined plane
Underneath a block of Spam
And the spam is connected to a fish
You'll know what to do.

You'll say Physics...  I love you.

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