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Simply put: How would molecules behave if the law of friction was suddenly turned off?

(On a already formed planet such as earth)

Would everything just slide around? Or simply fall apart?

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closed as too broad by SRM, L.Dutch, Aify, Mołot, Hohmannfan Apr 2 '17 at 13:09

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by the "law of friction"? I've never heard of it. Also, friction happens at larger scales. Molecules don't do friction. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 1 '17 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP i feel its implicit it means " friction", and friction suddenly ceases to be a thing, but im not sure $\endgroup$ – Alex Robinson Apr 1 '17 at 21:45
  • $\begingroup$ A hint: your question currently has 27 views. That's a low portion of the active WorldBuilding Community. Some people might be discouraged to answer a question that already has a "solution". Of couse it's your decision alone to accept any answer the most helpful one, but most of the time it's a good idea to wait a day or two for answers to come in. Just a tip for your next questions. (Please don't be discouraged and unaccept the current answer; it's just a tip to get more answers on future questions) $\endgroup$ – Secespitus Apr 1 '17 at 23:01
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So anything that isn't fixed, like soil, sand, etc, is now liquid. The beaches swiftly sink under the sea, and earth, soil, and other particulates stream into huge rivers, organised by density.

Oceans rise, all that's left of the continents is bedrock. Those building anchored to bedrock would survive.

Sticky stuff, like clay, would probably also be fluid (though a physicist will tell you for sure). Food and drink would passs right through us. We would starve pretty quickly.

All these new liquids would be be tidal.

I think we can safely say that it would be a hideous but swift end of the world

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    $\begingroup$ It would be hard for a physicist to tell you whether clay would be a fluid or not. "Friction" is not so much a force as a categorization of forces which oppose motion. Whether the forces holding clay together would disperse or not is really up to the OP's definition of what "friction" should include. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Apr 1 '17 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I think he's going for something less than van de waals force, as in an earlier question about remonive surface tension, he was told that led to a swift end to the Earth. As you say, friction is a category, and it's hard for me to know at what scale cohesion differs from friction. Anyhow, it's still going to be the end of the world :-D $\endgroup$ – Konchog Apr 1 '17 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not too sure whether bedrock would be stable without friction. Tectonic plates definitely won't. Lots of earthquakes occurring regularly would weaken everything above them, while the lack of friction means mountain ranges would collapse immediately in landslides $\endgroup$ – nzaman Apr 2 '17 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @nzaman, yes I agree. But it may take a little longer than loose aggregates like sand, earth and gravel. To be honest, I find it really hard to imagine a world where all liquids have zero (or near zero) viscosity due to no shear stress, but my imaginings have it that the most rapid manifestations would occur with loose aggregates. As you suggest, the disruption would cause a lot of fractures to occur. With no static or kinetic friction my guess is that the world will quickly look more like a dense gas giant. $\endgroup$ – Konchog Apr 2 '17 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot, aye. I struggle to work out what would happen with cogs for the same reason. I mean, how would those teeth fail to mesh, given that meshing is just a coarse form of friction? $\endgroup$ – Konchog Apr 3 '17 at 10:13

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