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Experiments have been carried out to determine the transition between static and kinetic conditions when stationary metal surfaces are set into motion, a simple method being used which measures the energy that has to be given to one of the bodies to start it moving. The method is confined to cases in which the static coefficient exceeds the kinetic. Using a load of 1 kg and metal surfaces of various kinds, it is found that the static coefficient persists for distances of the order of 10-4 cm, and then gradually falls off to values corresponding to the kinetic coefficient. This behavior is shown to be consistent with a simple model based on the assumption that the friction force is needed to shear metallic junctions formed between the metal surfaces. The action of boundary lubricants is discussed, and it is shown that they can act either by diminishing the metallic interaction directly, or by preventing its increase during the sliding process.