The study of friction, wear, and lubrication is of enormous practical importance, because the function of many mechanical, electromechanical, and biological systems depends on the appropriate friction and wear values. In recent decades, this field, termed tribology, has received increasing attention as it has become evident that the wastage of resources resulting from high friction and wear is greater than 6% of the Gross National Product. The potential savings offered by improved tribological knowledge are immense.

However, most engineers do not have a sufficient background in this area. For example, an undergraduate engineering student receives perhaps an hour of instruction in tribology. Moreover, most reference works of tribology provide little guidance to solving real-world problems.

This program presents current insights into tribology, focusing on such fundamental concepts as surface energy, elastic and elastoplastic deformation, micro-fracture, and surface interactions at the micro- and nano-scale. Special consideration is given to the application of fundamental knowledge to control friction and wear behavior through lubrication and the selection of materials and coatings in practical situations. Furthermore, modern experimental methods are discussed and several case studies are used to illustrate how fundamental tribology knowledge can be applied in the design of tribological components and systems.

Run annually in June by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and commonly known as the “MIT Tribology Course”