As you may, (or may not) remember from physics class, Galileo introduced a formula that predicted the motion of an object moving down an inclined plane, and he was the first to account for a frictional force affecting the velocity, although only in a theoretical sense. His theory was the basis for Newton’s First Law of Motion and the concept of inertia. Creating a frictionless surface for experimentation has since been achieved in various ways, most recently by the Naval Research Lab which built a 37 ton air hockey table to test a new satellite docking system.
During the planning phase of a recent high school science lab renovation, the AP physics teacher asked if there was a way to make an air hockey-like table that could be used for “frictionless” experiments. LF Systems designers, together with this innovative teacher, expanded this idea to create lab tables for everyday class work that could all be easily transformed into frictionless surfaces. Using the ultra-level qualities of Trespa phenolic resin, the uniform air movement of tubeaxial fans and vibration damping swivel leveling mounts, these classroom worktables easily become frictionless experimental work stations. They can be used alone or configured together to create a larger working area.
The type of investigations that can be done is limited only by the imagination. Straight and orbit velocity, angle of inclination, and collision between pucks of varying mass are just a few of the frictionless experiments the physics teacher designed for his students.