Rolling is a type of motion that combines rotation (commonly, of an axially symmetric object) and translation of that object with respect to a surface (either one or the other moves), such that, if ideal conditions exist, the two are in contact with each other without sliding.

The animation illustrates rolling motion of a wheel as a superposition of two motions: translation with respect to the surface, and rotation around its own axis.

Rolling where there is no sliding is referred to as pure rolling. By definition, there is no sliding when there is a frame of reference in which all points of contact on the rolling object have the same velocity as their counterparts on the surface on which the object rolls; in particular, for a frame of reference in which the rolling plane is at rest (see animation), the instantaneous velocity of all the points of contact (e.g., a generating line segment of a cylinder) of the rolling object is zero.

In practice, due to small deformations near the contact area, some sliding and energy dissipation occurs. Nevertheless, the resulting rolling resistance is much lower than sliding friction, and thus, rolling objects, typically require much less energy to be moved than sliding ones. As a result, such objects will more easily move, if they experience a force with a component along the surface, for instance gravity on a tilted surface, wind, pushing, pulling, or torque from an engine. Unlike cylindrical axially symmetric objects, the rolling motion of a cone is such that while rolling on a flat surface, its center of gravity performs a circular motion, rather than a linear motion. Rolling objects are not necessarily axially-symmetrical. Two well known non-axially-symmetrical rollers are the Reuleaux triangle and the Meissner bodies. The oloid and the sphericon are members of a special family of developable rollers that develop their entire surface when rolling down a flat plane. Objects with corners, such as dice, roll by successive rotations about the edge or corner which is in contact with the surface. The construction of a specific surface allows even a perfect square wheel to roll with its centroid at constant height above a reference plane.

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Rolling, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.