In mechanical machines there are lots of components where contact is made and relative motion takes place. For example, gears, bearings, seals, joints, brakes, clutches, cams etc. In the natural world there are also lots of applications of tribology; hip joints, teeth, shoe and floors. In all these applications the following aspects are important:
• How load is supported and what is the contact stress
• The resistance to motion – friction (e.g., brakes, shoe/floor contact, rolling bearings)
• The use of lubrication to reduce friction
• The wear life of the component
• Improvement of surface properties
Every machine, product or device has tribology at its heart. Gears, bearings, seals, brakes, slides, and pistons are some of many components that have surfaces which rub together and wear out, seize, or fatigue. The end of life of many engineering components comes about through tribological failures. Yet, generally tribology is not a subject well understood or widely studied in engineering courses. The application of the basic principles of lubrication, wear management, and friction estimation can make huge cost savings both in terms of more competitive products, reduced down time, and increased reliability.