Rush Hour Pollution May Be More Dangerous Than You Think

In-car air study of commuting cars finds dangers to human health

By Ken Kingery

DURHAM, N.C. — The first in-car measurements of exposure to pollutants that cause oxidative stress during rush hour commutes has turned up potentially alarming results. The levels of some forms of harmful particulate matter inside car cabins...Read More »


NASA Tests Inflatable Heat Shield Technology for Deep Space Missions

Before NASA uses its new inflatable technology for slowing spacecraft that are entering the atmospheres of other planets, it will first need to be packed into the tight confines of a rocket.
Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, recently put the technology to the test by packing...Read More »


Power generating floor from waste - thanks to triboelecric effect

Visitors to UW–Madison’s Union South walk across a section of floor designed and installed by College of Engineering researchers to capture the energy of footsteps and turn it into usable electricity. Photo: Adrienne Nienow

As thousands of visitors each day walk across a new...Read More »


Triboelectric charges on HDPE are strain induced

New research indicates how static electricity puts the charge in material, offering answer to centuries-old question

For centuries, scientists have tried to understand triboelectric charging, commonly known as static electricity.

Triboelectric charging causes toner from a photocopier or laser printer to stick to paper,...Read More »


Heat generation and fluid migration lowers friction during earthquake

A recent study published in Nature has demonstrated unusual heat generation and fluid movement in the Alpine Fault of New Zealand that has implications for understanding earthquakes in the region. Large plate-boundary faults, such as the Alpine Fault, are important areas of stress build-up and release, which can...Read More »


Next-Generation Transport

Thanks to MURI grants, UCSB mechanical engineers are working on refining and improving machines that move through air and water.

For most of us, fluid dynamics and mechanics aren’t particularly significant — that is, until we’re white-knuckling it on a bumpy plane ride or trying to stay buoyant in unusually bubbly...Read More »


Earthquakes and friction evolution

By simulating quakes in a lab, engineers study the way that friction changes along a fault during a seismic event

By simulating earthquakes in a lab, engineers at Caltech have documented the evolution of friction during an earthquake—measuring what could once only be inferred, and shedding light...Read More »


MIT’s Hyperloop flies

MIT’s Hyperloop team levitates through its first test-run competition.

Yiou He is ready to get to full speed. On a recent weekend in California, she felt the thrill of victory: She and MIT classmates became the first to successfully shoot a levitating Hyperloop pod down a 1-mile vacuum tube during a...Read More »


Origami-inspired Robot for Space Exploration

The next rovers to explore another planet might bring along a scout.

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was inspired by origami. Its lightweight design is capable of flattening itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can’t...Read More »


Movable micro-platform floats on a sea of droplets

New technique offers precise, durable control over tiny mirrors or stages.

Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are tiny machines fabricated using equipment and processes developed for the production of electronic chips and devices. They’ve found a wide variety of applications in today’s consumer electronics, but their moving parts can wear out over...Read More »


ISS National Lab Enables Commercial Research

A growing number of commercial partners use the International Space Station National Lab. With that growth, we will see more discoveries in fundamental and applied research that could improve life on the ground.

Since 2011, when NASA engaged the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to manage...Read More »


New Gel Coatings to produce better Catheters and Condoms

Bonded layers of rubber and hydrogel yield tough, slippery, and impermeable coatings.
Catheters, intravenous lines, and other types of surgical tubing are a medical necessity for managing a wide range of diseases. But a patient’s experience with such devices is rarely a comfortable one.

Now MIT engineers have designed a gel-like...Read More »


Vanishing Friction

Illustration: Christine Daniloff/MIT and Alexei Bylinkskii

A new technique tunes friction between two surfaces, to the point where friction can vanish. MIT researchers developed a frictional interface at the atomic level. The blue corrugated surface represents an optical lattice; the red balls represent ions; the springs between them represent Coulomb forces...Read More »


Nanotechnology Flight Test

Mastering the intricacies of controlling matter at the nanoscale level is part of a revolutionary quest to apply nanotechnology to benefit industrial processes. A key element of that technology is the use of carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are small hollow tubes with diameters of 0.7 to 50 nanometers and lengths generally...Read More »


Ancient Art of Weaving on Mars

Weaving processes created millennia ago are part of the most cutting-edge technology on NASA’s Orion spaceship that may one day shield humans from heat as they ride all the way to Mars and back.

That same technology is finding a home on Earth as well, enabling thicker, denser composite materials...Read More »


Oiling the Wheels in Off-Highway Vehicles

A major concern for many maintenance engineers is off-highway equipment running low on lubricant. However, they often make a critical error when trying to solve the problem: they over-lubricate. This can be just as damaging as using too little lubricant, as it increases friction, raises temperatures inside the bearing, and...Read More »


Does Friction cause Friction Blisters?

What is friction?

There is more than one definition of friction. And this has confused our understanding of how it is involved in friction blister formation.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has two definitions of friction:

  1. the act of rubbing one thing against another
  2. the force that resists relative motion between two bodies in...Read More »

Laser-Cooled Ions Help to Understand Friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise – and not only on the...Read More »


Combat Corrosion in Though Environments

A new multimillion pound collaborative research project led by BP and the University of Manchester could help to dramatically reduce the impact that surface degradation processes such as corrosion and wear have on industry worldwide.

Corrosion and wear processes have very significant societal, economic and safety implications for industry. From tools...Read More »


Keeping the Wind in Your Sails

 

Just like any mechanical device, a wind energy system needs timely, appropriate lubrication in order to function reliably and predictably. Wind turbines routinely withstand extremely demanding conditions: vibration, high mechanical loads, contamination and moisture are all potential threats to operational efficiency, especially in critical rotating components such as bearings and gears.

Turbine...Read More »


Friction: The Key to Rock Climbing

This article explains the vital role Friction has to play in Rock Climbing. Thanks to Richard Jones and Glen Harding for their input.

Friction is the magic ingredient in bouldering and rock climbing. It’s what makes the best moves and sequences subtle and surprising. Friction is a variable, some days it’s...Read More »


Modern Applications of Tribology

While Leonardo da Vinci commented on the effects of friction in the 1400s, it wasn’t until the mid-1960s that tribology was coined by Dr. H. Peter Jost and accepted as the term for the study and application of the principles of friction, lubrication, and wear.

In the early 1960s, there was...Read More »


Custom Tool Kit of the Future

The world offers a wild number of tools to the modern tinkerer. Yet the perfect tool never seems to be within arm’s reach, or available at all.

The angle of the handle is off, the fitting imprecise, or the size awkward. How convenient it would be if we could fashion our own...Read More »


Green method developed for making artificial spider silk

A team of architects and chemists from the University of Cambridge has designed super-stretchy and strong fibers which are almost entirely composed of water, and could be used to make textiles, sensors and other materials. The fibers, which resemble miniature bungee cords as they can absorb large amounts of energy,...Read More »


Medical textiles and tribology

NOT LONG BEFORE MY LAST SKI TRIP, I was having a lot of lower back problems stemming from a bad fall years ago. Without getting into too much blood and gore, I have a pinched nerve and the associated arthritis from long-term inflammation. So the fix, at least enough to...Read More »


Tribology at Work on the Strings

There’s something about the moan and wail of a good gut-bucket slide guitar riff that can grab you by the innards and not let go. Any tribologist worth his salt is likely to have another reaction: “A bit high on the tribometer, that.”

Blues, bluegrass, and Hawaiian slide guitar fans know...Read More »


Breaks Observed in Rover Wheel Treads

A routine check of the aluminum wheels on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has found two small breaks on the rover’s left middle wheel-the latest sign of wear and tear as the rover continues its journey, now approaching the 10-mile (16 kilometer) mark.

The mission’s first and second breaks in raised treads,...Read More »


The shape of things to come: materials and manufacturing

Advanced engineering is at the dawn of a new and exciting era. Changing customer behaviors and demands are driving new business models: the manufacturing process must be faster, greener, and more responsive.

Conventional production of highly-engineered components is generally wasteful and energy intensive – in the aerospace sector, for example, typically...Read More »


NASA Tests Robotic Ice Tools

Want to go ice fishing on Jupiter’s moon Europa? There’s no promising you’ll catch anything, but a new set of robotic prototypes could help.

Since 2015, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been developing new technologies for use on future missions to ocean worlds. That includes a subsurface probe...Read More »


Innovative deep drilling for rock stress measurements

Luleå University of Technology has received funding for national infrastructure from the Swedish Research Council to build a national resource for rock stress measurements. The equipment is unique in the world and allows three-dimensional rock stress determination down to 3 kilometer deep boreholes.

It will primarily be used in projects that...Read More »


It's Kind of a Drag

UCSB engineer shows how minimizing fluid friction can make oceangoing vessels more fuel-efficient and reduce harmful emissions

Imagine walking from one side of a swimming pool to the other. Each step takes great effort — that’s what makes water aerobics such effective physical exercise.

The resistance you feel is caused by fluid...Read More »


Railway Invention can save millions

A small device can make great use to all the world’s railways. It is the aim when a new portable tester, which, when you fix it directly on the rails, can measure the wear and friction with great resemblance to reality at all types of railway tracks, and thereby reduces...Read More »


Leaping Lizards!

UC Riverside-led research tests the limits of gecko adhesion.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Many geckos inhabit trees, often living high in the canopy. Relying on their incredible adhesive strength to help them break their fall, they jump from trees, and land on either leaves or relatively smooth tree trunks. How they withstand...Read More »


How Gecko Feet Got Sticky

UC Riverside-led study offers evidence that small morphological changes can lead to large changes in function

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – How do key innovations in the animal kingdom arise? To explore this question, gecko expert Timothy Higham, an associate professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, led a team of evolutionary...Read More »


Tribological testing of materials for automotive industry

Quality Magazine have published an article about using benchtop mechanical testing to assess materials in the automotive industry,  saving time and money.

Full scale tests are often used to test the frictional behaviour of materials, to compare their wear characteristics, friction curve and...Read More »


Maximize drill's service lifetime using a real time monitoring technology

Machining is a core element of the manufacturing process, whether it’s drilling, milling, turning or planing. Not only the workpiece sheds material, however: these processes also lead to gradual wear on the tool. The decision on when to have a tool replaced or reground depends on its service life. This...Read More »


Optimize friction to build the best sandcastles

Matthew Robert Bennett, Bournemouth University

Whether we prefer water sports or relaxing with a good book, the humble sandcastle is often a seaside must. But what’s the secret to building a majestic sandcastle that will withstand the tide of time? Luckily, there’s a scientific formula for that.

Read More »

A device for monitoring distant railways autonomously

An automated device for monitoring railway tracks will make it possible to improve the safety of rail transport. Alexander Pletnev, a PhD student of the TPU Institute of Physics and Technology, is developing the device.

Photo: A pilot of monitoring device

As the young scientist says, during the...Read More »


Second Edition of AIT's Summer School: Surface engineering, lubrication models, nanotribology, novel materials

The Italian Association of Tribology AIT organizes the second edition of the AIT’s Summer School.

The summer school venue will be “Fruscione Palace” in the old town of Salerno and will be held from Mon August 28th to Fri September 1st, 2017.

The Summer School is addressed to doctoral students, post-doc...Read More »


Reduce road traffic and pollution by cooperation of competing businesses

Road traffic makes up one-fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. Image credit: Pixabay/ Gellinger

Linking up empty trucks and competing businesses through trusted networks could mean less road traffic and pollution.

Road traffic makes up one-fifth of the EU’s total emissions...Read More »


Do old bridges last longer than expected?

Researchers had been looking for a bridge like this for a long time. The requirements were specific: It had to have been built before 1966, had to have as many spans as possible between the bridge piers, had to be easily accessible and of course had to already...Read More »

Feeling of a touch for robots through artificial intelligence and contact area patterns

Eight years ago, Ted Adelson’s research group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new sensor technology, called GelSight, that uses physical contact with an object to provide a remarkably detailed 3-D map of its surface.

Now, by mounting GelSight sensors on the grippers of robotic arms,...Read More »


The correct lubricant: a practical guide to choose lubricating oil

‘The correct lubricant’ covers basic practical information about lubricants in automotive and industrial areas. It is written for users of lubricants, giving only what is essential to know and useful for them. It could also be used by professionals in the field who must explain various aspects of...Read More »


Triboelectricity to collect wave power

Nature provides three sources of energy for free: sunlight, air and gravity. Solar and wind power are increasingly exploited, gravity less so. Hydraulic power plants harvest energy from flowing rivers. Tidal energy can be gathered along some inlets and coasts. But few places are suitable for dams or...Read More »


Tribology from all angles: Same problem, different perspectives

Three blind men encountered an elephant, the old story goes. One of them felt the elephant’s tail and declared that an elephant is like a rope. Another examined the animal’s leg and said that it was more like a tree trunk. The third ran his hands along the...Read More »


3D dislocations observed by X-Ray

In a new study published in Science, researchers at Argonne used an X-ray scattering technique called Bragg coherent diffraction imaging to reconstruct in 3-D the size and shape of grain defects. These defects create imperfections in the lattice of atoms inside a grain that can give rise to interesting material...Read More »


Grab things like a Gecko: a new gripping system

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems have developed a soft gripping system that uses differential air pressure and a gecko-inspired adhesive for exceptional bonding to three-dimensional objects. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.

A soft gripping system...Read More »


Researchers developed durable concrete for roads using recycled materials

Road salt, used in copious helpings each winter to protect them from ice and preserve safe driving conditions, is slowly degrading the concrete they’re made of. Engineers have known for some time that calcium chloride salt, commonly used as deicer, reacts with the...Read More »

Ice crystals formation is controlled by the surface texture - new study shows

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2017)—A new study examining how ice forms from pure water found that the geometry of the surface that water is on can have an effect on whether or not it freezes, suggesting that surface geometry plays an important role in ice formation. Greater understanding of...Read More »


No Friction - Bad Earthquake

It is a common trope in disaster movies: an earthquake strikes, causing the ground to rip open and swallow people and cars whole. The gaping earth might make for cinematic drama, but earthquake scientists have long held that it does not happen.

Except, it can, according to new experimental research from...Read More »


Impact of water on Grease film thickness in rolling point contacts

In a rolling bearing, the load transmission is often accompanied by high contact stresses which may eventually lead to wear and/or fatigue. In order to ensure separation of moving parts leading to a long life, bearings are usually grease or oil lubricated. The separation of the moving parts in a...Read More »


After the Mystery of Rotary Lip Seals

Lip seals compete with mechanical face seals in sealing oil or grease in rotary shaft applications. Under certain running conditions both kinds of seals can be used however, the latter ones are generally used for applications where a significant pressure difference needs to be preserved. Rotary lip seals are preferred...Read More »


Friction is a possible reason for SpaceX Falcon 9 explosion

September 1 of 2016 at Cape Canaveral SpaceX lost is Falcon 9 rocket on a launch pad due to dramatic explosion. During a routine preflight fueling test, the  rocket and the $200 million Israeli Earth communication satellite Amos-6 were lost. No one was injured.

A...Read More »


Happy New Year and 2016 tribonet Awards

The holidays are here!  And here at tribonet, we would like to wish all our readers the very best for the new year.  Many blessings, love and happiness to the entire tribonet community!

It was a great year for tribonet, thanks to the readers and the authors! With the ending of...Read More »


What contributes to thicker grease films ?

A rolling bearing preferably runs under EHL conditions. The film thickness between the rolling elements and the rings is determined by the lubricant properties, operating conditions and bearing design. During the initial phase of operation, macroscopic flow (churning) of the grease takes place. It is usually during this churning phase...Read More »


Argonne Embraces Concept of "in operando" Formation of Carbon-based Tribofilms

Earlier this month, tribologists and physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory published news of their (self-described) “self-healing diamond-like carbon coating [that] could revolutionize lubrication” in the journal Nature.  The researchers claim...Read More »


Contact Area vs. Load: Simple Scaling Laws

“God made the bulk; surfaces were invented by the devil”, a Nobel prize winning physicist Wolfgang Ernst Pauli said. In tribology, as in many other sciences, surface features (asperities, roughness) play an important role. In many cases, the surface roughness dramatically alters the friction, contact area,...Read More »


Small Particles - Big Problems

Tiny particles are all over around us and sometimes they may create problems. This is especially of concern with metal particles formed due to wear in man-made engineering devices. Particles formed in car disk brakes may harm lung cells, metal particulate limits the service life of artificial hip...Read More »


Determining Fatigue Wear Using Wear Particle Analysis Tools

...Read More »

Nordtrib 2016: conference summary and outlook on the field of tribology 50 years after the Jost report

Nordtrib 2016 came to a close last Friday and I returned home inspired and energized for the next stint in my PhD research. This post is an overview of the conference and summarises the outlook on the field for the years to come based on the round table discussions and...Read More »


Who is The First? Leonardo da Vinci!

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, the famous Italian engineer, architect, painter, musician, mathematician can also be considered as The First Tribologist! Although the term itself was invented approximately 450 years after Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), he was the first one to perform the systematic study on friction,...Read More »


Bio-lubricants and Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EAL)

The increasing awareness on environmental pollution caused by many chemicals, including lubricants, promotes the use of environmentally friendly products. There is a clear trend towards a more responsible use of lubricants and several legislations already limit the use of certain oils in some applications. Bio-lubricants are present in construction, mining...Read More »


In Situ Nanopolishing (ISN): A New Lubrication Paradigm Aimed at Permanent Surface Perfection

All conventional lubricants borne of classic hydrodynamic theory are designed to provide lubricity. Inherent in the desire to provide lubricity to mechanical systems is the desire to protect the interacting metal surfaces from wear. Much effort in tribology...Read More »


Surface Replication Compounds

The first challenge when measuring a surface topography via optical techniques is getting the sample to the lab. Although optical surface roughness measurement does not damage the component per se (NDT), the fact of fitting it into a microscope generally requires the destruction of the original component. The surface replication...Read More »


Wear in nanoscale: optimum AFM tip roughness

Wear is a gradual removal of the material of the bodies during their interaction. The process appears in many mechanical systems, ranging from large scales, as in wind mills, to nanoscales, as in the AFM tip – substrate contact. The macroscale wear is a relatively well developed field of tribology,...Read More »


"Car 2020" and Tribology Research

Friction has been a challenge for the mankind throughout the whole history since it resists the motion. It resists the transportation of goods. And transportation shares 20% of the global energy consumption and approximately 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions. Out of this share, road transportation builds up to 72%...Read More »


Ice Lubrication and the Forbidden City

Forbidden City is a historical symbol of China, located in the center of Beijing and was constructed between 1406 and 1420 . It served as an imperial palace for almost 500 years and consists of 980 buildings on 180 acres area. Large number of massive buildings required mining and transportation...Read More »


So, what is it, superlubricity?

From the first friction quantitative experiments by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) and most notably from our everyday life experience, it is known that there is an inevitable force opposing to the initiation of motion of one body on the surface of another. This force has to be exceeded, in order...Read More »


Modeling rough adhesive surfaces

Imagine a new type of tyres whose structure has been designed to have greater adhesion on the road. Quite a timely discussion during the long winter nights. French physicists have now developed a model to study the importance of adhesion in establishing contact between two patterned, yet elastic, surfaces. Nature...Read More »