Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Mechanical Engineering

Principal Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 7027p.cann




Mrs Chrissy Stevens +44 (0)20 7594 7064




668City and Guilds BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Philippa Cann is a Principal Research Fellow in the Tribology Group; her main research interests are in experimental studies of the lubrication mechanisms of complex fluids and the application of advanced experimental methods to the study of bio-lubrication.  Dr Cann’s first degree was in Chemistry from Kings College London University.  Her PhD studies in Tribology were undertaken at Imperial College and were under the supervision of Professor Alistair Cameron.     

In 2007 Dr Cann and Dr Daniele Dini established the Biotribology Group with a focus on implant tribology, articular cartilage damage mechanisms and soft contact lubrication.  Many of these activities are carried out in collaboration with Professor Justin Cobb (Chair in Orthopaedic Surgery, Charing Cross Hospital).

In September 2011 Dr Cann and Dr Dini organised the first International Conference on Biotribology (ICoBT) which was held at Imperial College.  The Conference brought together over 200 delegates from a wide cross-section of Biotribology research.  A second ICoBT meeting will be held in Toronto 11-14th May  2014.  We also work widely with industry and recent research funding includes projects in dental and shaving tribology.

Dr Cann has published over 120 papers in tribology particularly on mechanisms of grease lubrication in rolling element bearings and more recently on synovial fluid lubrication of artificial joints.

In 2013 Dr Cann co-authored the  joint winner of the SAGE Best Paper Prize in 2012 published in Journal of Engineering in Medicine entitled  “Edge loading in metal-on-metal hips: low clearance is a new risk factor”

Dr Cann was awarded the Tribology Trust Silver Medal in 2004 and is the Editor-in-Chief of Tribology International.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Fan J, Myant C, Underwood R, et al., 2012, Synovial fluid lubrication of artificial joints: protein film formation and composition, Faraday Discussions, Vol:156, ISSN:1359-6640, Pages:69-85

Mavraki A, Cann PM, 2011, Lubricating film thickness measurements with bovine serum, Tribology International, Vol:44, ISSN:0301-679X, Pages:550-556

Fan J, Myant CW, Underwood R, et al., 2011, Inlet protein aggregation: a new mechanism for lubricating film formation with model synovial fluids, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part H - Journal of Engineering in Medicine, Vol:225, ISSN:0954-4119, Pages:696-709

Myant C, Underwood R, Fan J, et al., 2012, Lubrication of metal-on-metal hip joints: The effect of protein content and load on film formation and wear, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, Vol:6, ISSN:1751-6161, Pages:30-40

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