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How tire width affects friction

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I'm in grade 11 and i was talking to my pphysics teacher about friction. You see race cars with wider tires than road cars, some people will say "oh, this car could benefit from wider tires" but i haven't encountered an equation that takes into account surface area for friction (either static or kinetic). My teacher said there is a certain coefficient of friction for let's say rubber on asphalt so i guess surface area won't change that. Could someone please explain why wider tires give better grip.

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friction is basiclyt the interaction between the molecules of two media that try to move independently. So the more molecules interact, the bigger the friction is.


In other words; friction is dependent on the area of contact; so a wider tire would have more friction.


Many race tires by the way are only wide at the start of the race; much grip for a fast start, during the race the tire get warmer, and because of centrifugal forces, the tires stretch out and thus become smaller (for less resistance)



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  • 16 years later...

Having wide tires increase the surface area of contact which might offer better grip, but generally it is supposed that dry friction is independent of surface area. 

One more thing is the friction involved here is very high, so you need to have wider tires to support such a high amount of friction. Thin tires may not be able to bear such high forces. 

One more assumption we can make is wider tires have the possibility of more irregularity on the surface so increasing the friction.

You can read about factors affecting friciton in this article. https://dewwool.com/factors-affecting-friction/

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