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The fact that µk is generally less than µs means that, in many situations, the friction will switch back and forth from kinetic to static. Picture pulling a potato with a rubber band, so static friction initially prevails. After the rubber band stretches enough, the potato moves and kinetic friction takes over. But then the rubber band has contracted again, so the potato stops, and static friction prevails. By this time you are pulling again. This is called stick/slip, for obvious reasons.

The stick/slip phenomenon is responsible for the squeal of bus brakes. It is also responsible for the eh-eh-eh-eh-eh sound when you rub your hair after a shower or your dishes after washing. These are some very practical applications of physics.

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