+1 Recommend
2 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      How tribology has been helping us to advance and to survive



      Tsinghua University Press

      tribology, friction, lubrication and wear

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Movement between contacting surfaces ranges from macro to micro scales, from the movement of continental plates and glaciers to the locomotion of animals and insects. Surface topographies, lubricant layers, contaminants, operating conditions, and others control it, i.e., this movement depends on the tribological characteristics of a system. Before the industrial revolution, friction and wear were controlled by the application of animal fat or oil. During the industrial revolution, with the introduction of trains and other machinery, the operating conditions at the contacting surfaces changed dramatically. New bearings were designed and built and simple lubrication measures were no longer satisfactory. It became critical to understand the lubrication mechanisms involved. During that period, solid theoretical foundations, leading to the development of new technologies, were laid. The field of tribology had gained a significant prominence, i.e., it became clear that without advancements in tribology the technological progress would be limited. It was no longer necessary to build oversized ship bearings hoping that they would work. The ship or automobile bearings could now be optimized and their behavior predicted. By the middle of the 20th century, lubrication mechanisms in non- conformal contacts, i.e., in gears, rolling contact bearings, cams and tappets, etc., were also finally understood.

          Today, we face new challenges such as sustainability, climate change and gradual degradation of the environment. Problems of providing enough food, clean water and sufficient energy to the human population to pursue a civilized life still remain largely unsolved. These challenges require new solutions and innovative approaches. As the humanity progresses, tribology continue to make vital contributions in addressing the demands for advanced technological developments, resulting in, for example, reducing the fuel consumption and greenhouse gases emission, increasing machine durability and improving the quality of life through artificial implants, among the others.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 39

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Microfabricated adhesive mimicking gecko foot-hair.

          The amazing climbing ability of geckos has attracted the interest of philosophers and scientists alike for centuries. However, only in the past few years has progress been made in understanding the mechanism behind this ability, which relies on submicrometre keratin hairs covering the soles of geckos. Each hair produces a miniscule force approximately 10(-7) N (due to van der Waals and/or capillary interactions) but millions of hairs acting together create a formidable adhesion of approximately 10 N x cm(-2): sufficient to keep geckos firmly on their feet, even when upside down on a glass ceiling. It is very tempting to create a new type of adhesive by mimicking the gecko mechanism. Here we report on a prototype of such 'gecko tape' made by microfabrication of dense arrays of flexible plastic pillars, the geometry of which is optimized to ensure their collective adhesion. Our approach shows a way to manufacture self-cleaning, re-attachable dry adhesives, although problems related to their durability and mass production are yet to be resolved.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: not found
            • Article: not found

            On the Theory of Lubrication and Its Application to Mr. Beauchamp Tower's Experiments, Including an Experimental Determination of the Viscosity of Olive Oil

             O. Reynolds (1886)
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: not found
              • Article: not found

              Friction at the Atomic Scale


                Author and article information

                Tsinghua Science and Technology
                Tsinghua University Press (Xueyuan Building, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China )
                05 September 2017
                : 05
                : 03
                : 233-247 (pp. )
                Tribology Laboratory, School of Mechanical and Civil Engineering Curtin University, Bentley, Western Australia 6102, Australia
                Author notes
                * Corresponding author: Gwidon W. STACHOWIAK, E-mail: Gwidon.Stachowiak@

                Gwidon STACHOWIAK. He is the Head of the Tribology Laboratory at the School of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Curtin University in Western Australia. His current work is focused on the development of methods for the characterization of multiscale 3D surface topographies, prediction of osteoarthritis in knee joints based on X-ray images and tribocorrosion. He is the editor of Tribology and Practice book series published by John Wiley and member of the editorial boards of several tribological and bio-medical journals. He is also a member of several international committees including the Executive Committee of the International Energy Agency, Research and Development of Advanced Materials for Transportation. Professor Stachowiak has published extensively and wrote/contributed to several books. He is the leading author of the books “Engineering Tribology” and “Experimental Methods in Tribology” published by Elsevier. In 2014, he was awarded Tribology Gold Medal, the World’s Highest Award in Tribology in recognition of his outstanding contribution to tribology while in 2012, he was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon, France.


                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 0, References: 55, Pages: 15
                Review Article


                Comment on this article