Tribology

Activities in tribology cover both research and services for industry. Research interests are focused mainly on the biotribology of natural and artificial joints. This involves investigations into the interactions of biomolecules in synovial fluid with each other and with the surfaces present in these systems. Other interests include the tribochemistry of anti-wear additives in oil. The reactions of anti-wear additives at the surface of steel and diamond-like carbon (DLC) have been investigated in order to determine the influence of iron and the ability of additives to protect DLC during sliding.

Both biotribology and tribochemistry involve investigating the mechanisms of lubrication on a molecular level by studying the interactions between surface active compounds and the surface. This information is then used to design surfaces and lubricants with optimised chemical and physical properties for the reduction of friction and wear in moving systems. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in energy consumption and increase in durability of the system.

A range of equipment is available to determine friction and wear under oil-lubricated or dry-sliding conditions. This equipment can be used to test new materials or determine the effectiveness of oils. Standardised tests can be carried or the equipment can be modified to allow measurements with individual requirements, for example, very low contact pressures.