The Multiscale Tribology Laboratory
@Auburn University

Tribology: The study of friction, wear and lubrication of contacting surfaces.

Control friction and wear: Reduce energy loss, maintenance costs, and failures.

What is Tribology?

The goal of the Multiscale Tribology Laboratory is to investigate and model the physical phenomena that distress and govern contacting components through experimental and computational techniques.  We also do research in the area of mechanical and electrical machine component design.

Summary of Research

Figure: Rough surface contact modeling depicting the real area of contact.

  1. Friction and Wear Testing

  2. Lubricant Formulation and Testing

  3. Nanoparticle Colloidal Lubricant Additives

  4. Theoretical Friction Modeling

  5. High Current and Conventional Electrical Connectors

  6. Multiscale Contact Mechanics

  7. Multiphysics Thermo-Electro-Mechanical FEM Simulations

  8. Articular Cartilage Property Measurement and Modeling

  9. Biomimetic and Self-adapting Surfaces

  10. Surface Texturing and Engineering

  11. Automobile Tire Testing and Modeling

  12. Solenoid Valve Reliability and Modeling

  13. Thrust Washer Bearings

  14. Electrical and Thermal Contact Resistance

  15. Numerical Simulation of Complex Tribological Systems

  16. Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication

  17. Bearing Prognostics and Failure Analysis

Past and Current Research Topics

Tribology Theory

A typical contacting surface appears like the figure to the right where there are peaks on the surface (asperities) which can come into contact if the lubrication film is not thick enough.  The contact and friction of surface  interfaces will be affected by thermal effects, bulk material properties, local chemical interactions, dynamics (motion), and geometry.

The asperity contours are exaggerated in the figure.

Tribology as a field has many applications including nanotechnology, MEMs, Automotive, Bioengineering and many other industrial applications.  Friction and wear between mechanical components has long been of great interest to engineers and scientists.  It is commonly known that excessive wear of components can lead to altered performance and premature failure of machinery.  Friction is likely to also affect the efficiency of systems by converting mechanical energy into non-recoverable thermal energy.  Hence, it is of great importance that bearings, which are designed to decrease the friction and wear between contacting mechanical components, perform to a level acceptable for their individual application.

For additional information please see the publications page.

Other Topics of Interest:

Design of Machine Components

Through improved modeling and innovative design the performance of machine components can be improved.  By integrating recent findings into models of machine components their behavior can be better understood and designed for.

Note additional topics are listed on the Personnel Page

3D surface profilometry showing wear grooves