Automotive Tribology

We have long established partnerships with major automotive OEMs and components suppliers. We have worked on the tribology of many different engine parts such as; valve trains, cams/tappets, engine liners and piston rings, and engine bearings.

Instrumented Liner and Piston
Instrumented Liner and Piston

Often the research starts with the repeated failure of an industrial component; e.g. wear of a drive chain tensioner, recession of a valve seat, or scuffing of an engine bore. We build bespoke test benches to explore the fundamental mechanisms of how the wear or lubrication failures occur. One of the most flexible ways to do this is to test the actual component in a lab simulator that most closely replicates the environment of normal operation. We also implement advanced sensor systems to measure performance in-situ during testing. From parametric studies we build a model of operation and design tools.

Current and Past Research Projects

  • experimental and theoretical modelling of valve seat recession

  • wear of drive chain tensioners.

  • development of anti-fling motorcycle chain lubricants

  • oil film formation in cam follower contacts

  • piston ring and piston skirt against liner lubricant film measurement


Dr Tom Slatter,, 

Prof Rob Dwyer-Joyce,