MEC446: Fundamentals and Applications of Tribology

Autumn Semester
Optional on Programmes: MECT40, MECT50, MECT53


Tribology is everywhere! Any engineering component that moves will have friction, develop wear and often be lubrication. 
The UK economy loses £24bn every year because of problems with friction, wear and lubrication. Having a good understanding of tribology in the design process is essential for ensuring higher component performance and to give economic savings.

Dr Kate Tomlinson, Module Lead

Module Description

Many practicing engineers use tribology regularly without a true understanding of its importance and its role 
in engineering design. This module introduces fundamental science that explains surface phenomena of wear, friction and lubrication. Students learn through industrial case studies, techniques to assess a range of engineering and machine contacts, from bearings to hip joints and banana skins! Theoretical and practical techniques will cover contact mechanics, friction, wear and lubricant films in hydrodynamic and elasto-hydrodynamic lubrication regimes. Students will learn to evaluate failure mechanisms and compare key design features that can be used to diagnose failure as well as improve design. 

Key Concepts & Assumed Knowledge

An understanding of wear, friction and lubrication and how this can be used to improve engineering components. 

Teaching Methods

•    Lectures

•    Tutorials

•    Independent learning

Assessment Methods

•    25% Coursework: Looking at wear and ways to mitigate it.

•    75% Exam: Covering wear, friction and lubrication.

Module Aims

• Introduce the fundamentals of friction and its relevance in component design and surface engineering.

• Introduce key tribological principles related to wear, methods for mitigation and underpinning mathematical concepts.

• Introduce the theory of contact mechanics and evaluate its impact on the performance of components.

• Develop the ability to apply lubrication science to engineering components.

• To enable student to apply the above techniques to a range of engineering components, evaluate failure mechanisms and compare key design features that improve performance

• Develop solutions to tribological industrial design problems through the application of tribological analysis.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.