The Effect of Salt, Sand, and Sugar on the Kinetic and Static Friction Between Ice and a Tire

The objective of this experiment was to study the effects of salt, sand, and sugar on the kinetic and static friction between ice and a rubber tire. This experiment has real world relevance because icy roads are a common problem in any area of the world that experiences cold weather. It is applicable in that salt, sand, and sugar affect the way a tire slides across ice.

Salt, sand, or sugar was sprinkled on a cookie sheet that had a layer of ice on top of it. The brick with a section of tire tread attached to the bottom was dragged across the cookie sheet. A force sensor attached to the brick recorded the force of the pull and the kinetic and static friction was analyzed using a graph on Logger Pro 3.6. A total of 120 trials were conducted. 30 trials were conducted for each factor of salt, sand, and sugar. Another 30 trials were conducted with no substance on the ice. Two ANOVA tests were conducted to test for any significant difference between the factors: one test for kinetic friction and one test for static friction. The p-values of the statistical tests for both kinetic and static friction were approximately zero. This corresponded to the means of each of the factors not being equal to each other, meaning that there was significant difference between the frictions. Salt was the best substance to use because it had a far greater effect on the kinetic and static friction than the other substances.

Research Done By:

Henry Kernen
Fraser High School

Mario Rossi
Fraser High School