Can the Frictional Force Between Two Interleaved Phone Books Lift A Car? [W/Video]

Can the Frictional Force Between Two Interleaved Phone Books Lift A Car? [W/Video]

Students often underestimate the force of friction, despite the fact that friction is the force that acts every day to bring their school buses and cars to a stop. In this video, two phone books are interwoven page- by-page and the friction between the thin sheets of paper is put to the ultimate test – can the frictional force between two interleaved phone books lift a 3, 500 lb car? Watch the video below to see what happens.

Think of the total area between 2 phone books. That is a lot of friction!

Is It Possible To Pull Them Apart?

Watch Mythbusters try the experiment again using two military tankers.

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Comments (3)

  • Oscar E. Davila Sheldon Reply

    Amazing experiment, it can be done with playing cards and no one can separete them, its called Taylor Dislocation Mechanism and demonstrates the great friccion that is created, this is applied in tensional elements as steel cable and thread, under axial tension there is a radial or lateral compression that tightens even more the individual fibers creating a high friccion, and a high resitence to tension, nature uses this principle in tendons and ligaments in collagen that has a similar principle, as well as bone, thanks.

    February 24, 2013 at 12:19 am
  • Terry Reply

    Fantastic experiment, glad to know our military has such great force too!

    March 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm
  • William Katumba Reply

    You destroyed that car!
    Man I’m looking for a car and you’re just here smashing them to pieces.
    Cool experiment though. I’m showing the video to my class and hoping to forgive out how to do it with the playing cards so they can experience it as well.

    October 14, 2018 at 11:52 pm

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