Friction in the CMP process is a subject of ongoing interest. The sources of friction can be the viscosity of the slurry between the pad and wafer, as well as the physical contact between the pad asperities and the wafer. The contact between the pad and the wafer can be direct or also through slurry particles trapped between the pad asperity and the wafer. We measure the friction between the wafer and the pad by measuring the CMP table current and subtracting out the background level. This is done for different concentrations of silica abrasive between 0 and 13%, as well as for different pressures and table speeds. Two widely different types of silica particles used in CMP are spherical colloid particles and aggregated fumed particles. We also compare the resultant friction behavior by comparing the results for both types of particles. For different abrasive contributions, the friction measurements are compared to the CMP removal rates. This evaluation is also done with a stationary wafer carrier, so that the observed removal rate at a specific point on the wafer is proportional to the local pressure on the wafer. The wafer carrier used for these tests uses a gimbal design. In this case the pressure at the leading edge of the wafer is larger than that at the trailing edge. From these studies we find that, for gimbaled systems with grooved pads, the friction is primarily caused by pad-asperity contact, and the addition of slurry particles does significantly change the friction interaction in the CMP process. Further, the non-uniformity in friction across the wafer is controlled by the pad surface structure and mechanical design of the CMP tool.