Truth That's Stranger Than Friction

RESEARCHERS AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY HAVE MEAsured the friction of one atom rubbing against another--and it's not what textbooks say it should be. At the atomic level, explains Bharat Bhushan, head of OSU's microtribology work, the classical theory of friction doesn't hold up. So for tomorrow's nanotechnology products, which will get stitched together atom by atom, a new theory of friction will be necessary. A paper co-authored by Bhushan in the Apr. 13 Nature outlines the implications--not all of which are in the distant future.

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