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Science Guy: Friction gives serious muscle power to pages of those old phone books

Do you have any old phone books? If so, don’t trash them. Our “Science Guy” Jason Lindsey and some kid scientists, show us how the pages, inside, have muscle power.

Go to – and click on Hooked on Science for this experiment and others that might get you and the entire family “Hooked on Science.”

Phone Book Friction


• Two Phone Books


STEP 1: Overlap the pages of each phone book. For example, page one of the first phone book should overlap page one of the second phone book.

STEP 2: Have one person grasp the spine of one phone book, while the other person grasp the spine of the other phone book.

STEP 3: Attempt to separate the phone books by pulling.

STEP 4: Have one person apply more force, in a different direction, while attempting to separate the phone books. What are the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the phone books?


Because of friction, it is difficult to separate the phone books. Friction is the resistance between two objects. By overlapping all the pages in each phone book, you created a lot of friction.

To see more Science Guy experiments, click here.

Visit www.hookedonscience.org for more fun and get your family “Hooked on Science.”


Jason Lindsey is an award-winning science educator and author. Jason studied science and journalism at Western Kentucky University, focusing on general science with an emphasis in meteorology and climatology. Each year he performs hands-on science experiments at hundreds of schools and community events throughout the United States, as well as produces and hosts a hands-on science segment airing on television stations across the nation. He previously worked as a chief meteorologist, backpack journalist, science reporter and webmaster.

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