Tribology group photo 2023

Research activities

We carry out research in lubrication and damage of contacting mechanical and biological components, lubricant additives, durability of machine elements, and special new topics such as the lubrication of MEMs. Applications include helicopters, motor vehicles, micro-machines, marine propulsion, industrial machinery, personal care products and scientific instruments.

Researchers are chemists, physicists, material scientists, or chemical or mechanical engineers. We have facilities for measurement of thin lubricant films, wear and rolling fatigue testers, roughness and topography, fluid and solid traction, atomic force microscopy, infra-red and Raman spectroscopy.

We have pioneered a wide range of techniques to measure lubricant performance. Commercialisation by a spinout company (PCS Instruments) has led to their use by all the major oil and additive companies worldwide and to a much more scientific approach to lubricant development.

This has played a fundamental role in the development of new low-emission, low-friction engine oils. Since 2002 Imperial staff have won all three Tribology Trust awards: Gold (Spikes), Silver (Cann) and Bronze (Dini). We have recently initiated work on nano-tribology and bio-tribology, in collaboration with Chemical Engineering, Materials and Biosurgery.

For further information visit the Tribology Group website.