# While walking on ice, one should take small steps to avoid slipping . This is because smaller steps to avoidsliping . This is because smaller steps ensure

Vikash Chandra
11 Points
6 years ago

There is a critical angle  $\mu =tan\phi$ for the leg where if exceeded the foot would slip. The less the available friction the smaller the critical angle.

Even without ice, try to walk on a dirt path using a really long stride and when your foot pressed down when the leg is at a high enough angle away from vertical it will slide. It is the same reason it is not recommended placing ladders on high angles or they will slip.

The secret is that you don’t need friction to run on ice, only perfect balance. Friction is only needed for acceleration and deceleration. Because when the normal force is parallel to the impact force there is no need for friction, and you can balance the direction of the impact force so the average direction is parallel to the normal force.

μ=tan⁡(cθ)" id="MathJax-Element-1-Frame" role="presentation" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: normal; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; word-spacing: normal; word-wrap: normal; white-space: nowrap; float: none; direction: ltr; max-width: none; max-height: none; min-width: 0px; min-height: 0px; position: relative;" tabindex="0"> without ice, try to walk on a dirt path using a really long stride and when your foot pressed down when the leg is at a high enough angle away from vertical it will slide. It is the same reason it is not recommended placing ladders on high angles or they will slip.

samiksha chougule
11 Points
6 years ago

As far as friction is concerned, I think we are supposed to take smaller steps so that friction force is lesser. But this does not mean that we cannot walk! By lesser friction, we mean that the friction must be small enough to not slip backwards.

Here is the answer from physics stack exchange that I think solves the problem once and for all:

"The reason for small steps is that the lateral forces are decreased. Imagine taking a large step on concrete. When you first put your foot down well in front of you, it will be pushing forwards on the concrete. At the end of that step when that foot is well behind you, it will be pushing backward on the concrete. The larger the step, the larger these forward and backward forces.

Your ordinary shoes on ice can only sustain small forwards and backwards forces before they slip. To avoid slipping, we take smaller steps."-Olin Lathrop

The answer is - “It should be smaller friction”