Without the force called friction, cars would skid off the roadway, humans couldn't stride down the sidewalk, and objects would tumble off your kitchen counter and onto the floor. The team's study results, which appear in ACS Nano, not only shed light on friction in general, but could also inform the design of improved prosthetic devices and artificial joints. They found that the main cause of aging was surface roughness. In a more general sense, understanding the physics behind friction is important in the design of sustainable systems. Some studies estimate that about 23% of the world's energy consumption is lost to friction," Frérot said.