Tribology students and faculty gain national recognition

Published: Apr 17, 2013 1:00:00 AM
Media Contact: Morgan Stashick, stashml@auburn.edu , 334-844-3591

Two students in Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s tribology and lubrication science minor have received prestigious awards from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). The awards come on the heels of a host of other accolades and accomplishments for one of the College of Engineering’s newest programs.

Hamed Ghaednia, doctoral student in mechanical engineering, received the STLE Young Tribologist Award for his doctoral research on nanoparticle additives to lubricants. This highly competitive award is given to only four graduate students nationwide within the field of tribology and lubrication every year. Nano-size particles are small enough to infiltrate the gaps between surfaces in contact and alter key tribological characteristics. The main goal of his project is to understand the effect of particles on friction and wear, and to study the interaction of particles with surfaces under high pressure.

Hannah Neuffer, a senior in polymer and fiber engineering, was awarded the STLE E. Richard Booser Scholarship for her proposed undergraduate research on nanolubricants. This scholarship was awarded to only two undergraduate students this year. Her research focuses on measuring the effects of various concentrations of nanoparticles on the coefficient of friction in a ball-on-disk test machine. The results of these trials are analyzed to determine if the nanoparticles increase or decrease wear on the test unit. She is also studying the viscosity of these nanolubricants.

Other honors awarded to students and faculty within the program include Ghaednia’s Auburn University Merriwether Fellowship, awarded to only four of the approximately 5,000 graduate students at Auburn, and mechanical engineering graduate student Hyeon Lee’s Outstanding Masters Student award, given to ten outstanding Auburn graduate students. Robert Jackson, faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, received the College of Engineering Spencer Creative Mentorship award with undergraduate mechanical engineering student Ryan Whitmore, an award that recognizes the efforts of engineering faculty to engage in mentoring students.

The Tribology and Lubrication Science minor began holding classes in the fall of 2012 to prepare students from various engineering backgrounds and science programs for careers that require a background in tribology, the study of friction, wear and lubrication. Industry demand is high for engineers with experience in tribology, and Auburn’s students have already shown themselves to be among the best in the nation.

Contributed by Kirk Lundblade