What is the magnitude of the friction between the wheels and the ground?


Friction is necessary between wheels and the ground in order to prevent the wheels slipping. Static friction doesn't oppose motion, but rolling friction can do so.

In the case of a wheel driving a vehicle, if the driving torque of the wheel turning clockwise is T and the wheel's radius is r, this results in a couple. So there's a force at the point of contact of the wheel and ground of F = T/r acting backwards and F = T/r acting forwards on the axle. If there's no slippage, a balancing force F = T/R acts forwards at the point of contact on the ground. So these forces are in balance. The other unbalanced force at the axle pushes the vehicle forwards.

Updated on February 7, 2018

Original Article:

By Eugene Brennan