Tribology in the past and in the future

Kenneth Holmberg

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter or book articleScientific


    Tribology played a central role in the first technological revolution in ancient times. Reducing the friction by wheels made it possible for humans to move farther off, and the lubrication of sleds made it possible to transport building blocks and raise large constructions. Together with good tribological engineering knowledge, metal as a construction material and oil as a lubricant eventually smoothened the path for the industrial revolution by allowing inventions like bearings and gears. New scientific knowledge about asperity interaction, elastohydrodynamic lubrication, surface engineering, material behavior and tribochemistry contributed to a deeper understanding of the phenomena of friction and wear in the last century. Tire and road tribology, grease lubrication and seal tribology are in a relative sense neglected topics in tribology research. They have attracted far too little interest by researchers given their crucial role and impact in industry and society. Concerns for the environment, energy conservation, and consumer product and production reliability are likely to be the driving force that will direct tribology research in the future. A more holistic approach including considerable interaction with other scientific fields is needed to meet the need from both industry and society. Future scientific tribological challenges are expected to be the effects of debris, transfer- and reaction layers, molecular scale tribological effects, tribology in microdevices, chemomechanical effects, and unifying theories for wear and lubrication mechanisms. Finding ways of scaling up the tribological knowledge at nano- and micro-level to that of real components, devices and machinery will be one of the major challenges.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTribology of mechanical systems
    Subtitle of host publicationA guide to present and future technologies
    EditorsJoze Vizintin, Mitjan Kalin, Kuniaki Dohda, Said Jahanmir
    PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
    ISBN (Print)0-7918-0209-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2004
    MoE publication typeB2 Part of a book or another research book


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