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Translational Friction

Friction in contact between moving bodies


Mechanical Translational Elements


The Translational Friction block represents friction in contact between moving bodies. The friction force is simulated as a function of relative velocity and is assumed to be the sum of Stribeck, Coulomb, and viscous components, as shown in the following figure.

The Stribeck friction, FS, is the negatively sloped characteristics taking place at low velocities (see [1]). The Coulomb friction, FC, results in a constant force at any velocity. The viscous friction, FV, opposes motion with the force directly proportional to the relative velocity. The sum of the Coulomb and Stribeck frictions at the vicinity of zero velocity is often referred to as the breakaway friction, Fbrk. The friction is approximated with the following equations:






FFriction force
FCCoulomb friction
FbrkBreakaway friction
vbrkBreakaway friction velocity
vStStribek velocity threshold
vCoulCoulomb velocity threshold
vR, vCAbsolute velocities of terminals R and C, respectively
vRelative velocity
fViscous friction coefficient

The exponential function used in the Stribek portion of the force equation is continuous and decays at velocity magnitudes greater than the breakaway friction velocity.

The hyperbolic tangent function used in the Coulomb portion of the force equation ensures that the equation is smooth and continuous through v = 0, but quickly reaches its full value at nonzero velocities.

The block positive direction is from port R to port C. This means that if the port R velocity is greater than that of port C, the block transmits force from R to C.


Use the Variables tab in the block dialog box (or the Variables section in the block Property Inspector) to set the priority and initial target values for the block variables prior to simulation. For more information, see Set Priority and Initial Target for Block Variables.


Breakaway friction force

The breakaway friction force, which is the sum of the Coulomb and the static frictions. It must be greater than or equal to the Coulomb friction force value. The default value is 25 N.

Breakaway friction velocity

The velocity at which the Stribek friction is at its peak. At this point, the sum of the Stribek and Coulomb friction is the Breakaway friction force. The default value is 0.1 m/s.

Coulomb friction force

The Coulomb friction force, which is the friction that opposes motion with a constant force at any velocity. The default value is 20 N.

Viscous friction coefficient

Proportionality coefficient between the friction force and the relative velocity. The parameter value must be greater than or equal to zero. The default value is 100 N/(m/s).


The block has the following ports:


Mechanical translational conserving port.


Mechanical translational conserving port.


[1] B. Armstrong, C.C. de Wit, Friction Modeling and Compensation, The Control Handbook, CRC Press, 1995

Introduced in R2007a

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