The Science of Friction and Wear.

So here we are, putting our blogging toes in the water starting on WordPress. To begin the blogging ball rolling we’ve decided to go back in time.  We started the company by installing Nato grade security gates and turnstiles back in the day, about 1985, nobody was maintaining this very expensive, highly engineered equipment so we began.  Our tribology learning curve started early one very cold morning with a callout for gates not opening, the temperature was having an obvious effect on the viscosity of the hydraulic fluid in the gate drives.  After several early and freezing morning callouts, and a fair bit of engineering nouse, we learned how to keep the equipment working to its optimum efficiency and this was the start of our adventure into fluid friction and its ultimate home Tribology*

*Tribology is the study of surfaces moving relative to one another also commonly classed as the study of friction, wear, lubrication and the design of bearings. Friction is the resistance to relative motion, wear is the loss of material due to that motion and lubrication is the use of a fluid (or in some cases a solid) to minimize friction and wear.

Our field of engineering majors in the use of traditional components such as bearings and gears where we need to minimize the resistance to sliding or rolling so that as little energy as possible is lost to friction.  With brakes and clutches we want to maximise the sliding resistance in order to limit the relative motions.  Imagine it this way: In some cases we want to minimize friction (such as on the bottom of a bobsled) and in others we want to maximise the friction (such as on the soles of our shoes)


The study of tribology is commonly applied in bearing design but extends into almost all other aspects of modern technology, even to such unlikely areas as hair conditioners and cosmetics such as lipstick, powders and lip-gloss, to make skin or hair products that have the right feel.  Everywhere tribology is used to improve the products we use and the means of production.

Tribology’s greatest gift will be in energy efficiencies like the energy lost in friction in wind turbines as well as the wear induced failures of parts in passenger cars, planes & trains globally, its industrial reach will be vast and we haven’t even touched on the human side where all the aspects of friction, lubrication and wear can bring new joint designs and improved physio therapy’s.


I hope this brief introduction to tribology has caught your imagination, we think tribology is both technologically-relevant and scientifically-fascinating and it’s definitely an exciting time to discover tribology.

Our thanks for the information above goes to: –
The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.
The Leonardo Tribology Centre
Imperial College London, Tribology Group

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