Tribology: Friction, Wear, and Lubrication

  • USD 4,000

  • online
  • Online |
  • Date not specified
  • Certificate

The study of friction, wear, and lubrication is of enormous practical importance, because the function of many mechanical, electromechanical, and biological systems depends on the appropriate friction and wear values. In recent decades, this field, termed tribology, has received increasing attention as it has become evident that the wastage of resources resulting from high friction and wear is greater than 6% of the Gross National Product. The potential savings offered by improved tribological knowledge are immense.

However, most engineers do not have a sufficient background in this area. For example, an undergraduate engineering student receives perhaps an hour of instruction in tribology. Moreover, most reference works of tribology provide little guidance for solving real-world problems.

This program presents current insights into tribology, focusing on such fundamental concepts as surface energy, elastic and elastoplastic deformation, micro-fracture, and surface interactions at the micro- and nano-scale. Special consideration is given to the application of fundamental knowledge to control friction and wear behavior through lubrication and the selection of materials and coatings in practical situations. Furthermore, modern experimental methods are discussed and several case studies are used to illustrate how fundamental tribology knowledge can be applied in the design of tribological components and systems.

Program Benefits

  • Describing surface topography, physico-chemical aspects of solid surfaces, and surface interactions
  • Analyzing the mechanics of solid elastic and elastoplastic contacts
  • Recognizing the laws of friction, mechanisms of friction, friction space, stiction, stick slip, and surface temperature
  • Appreciating the various modes of wear: adhesive, delamination, fretting, abrasive, erosive, corrosive, oxidational (mild and severe), melt, and the wear-mechanism maps
  • Identifying types of lubrication: boundary, solid-film, hydrodynamic, and hydrostatic lubrication
  • Examining applications/case studies: sliding contacts, rolling contacts, bearing design, coating selection, and lubrication
  • Exploring the design of tribological surfaces and how to troubleshoot tribology problems
  • Surveying tribological testing devices and testing design
  • Recognizing the seminal role that tribology plays in the satisfactory functioning of mechanical, electrical, electromechanical, and biological systems
  • Appreciating of the importance of tribology in minimizing energy consumption, extending product life, and protecting the environment
  • Understanding the laws, mechanisms, and models of friction, wear, and lubrication — spanning nano, micro, meso, and macroscales
  • Appreciating that tribological properties are the properties of the system as a whole, not just of the individual
  • Understanding the methodologies of design and troubleshooting tribological systems
  • Understanding the protocols and procedures of accelerated and long-term tribological testing

Who Should Attend

The program is intended for two kinds of participants: those who are active or intend to be active in research on some aspect of tribology, and those who have encountered practical friction and wear problems and wish to learn novel methods of solving them.

The course requires at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or physical sciences, including basic courses in mathematics, applied mechanics, materials science, physics, and chemistry. Some lectures introduce advanced concepts in these areas and in physical chemistry and thermodynamics. These will be reviewed where necessary to provide the required background. Industrial experience is preferred.


Nam Pyo Suh
Professor Nam Pyo Suh is the Cross Professor Emeritus at MIT and was the 13th and 14th President of KAIST.
Nannaji Saka
Dr. Nannaji Saka is a former Research Affiliate

*Program faculty is subject to change


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