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Last updated: October 10, 2017

What Does Tribology Mean?

Tribology refers to both the science and technology involving lubrication, friction and wear. It comes from the Greek term “tribos,” which literally means rubbing.

This field encompasses the technology and science behind interacting surfaces in relation to motion. In short, tribology is the study of things rubbing together.

It is essential in various industrial applications since friction is one of the main factors that cause corrosion or damage in many systems.


Corrosionpedia Explains Tribology

Tribology is present in a wide variety of applications, like individual components such as bearings, gears as well as brakes and clutch pads. The field of tribology can also be applied in the following:

  • Products or assemblies – engines, curling stones
  • Exploration and construction – mine pumps, oil rigs, space shuttle
  • Manufacturing processes – stamping, rolling, turning, polishing and grinding

Moreover, it is present in virtually all areas of industry and engineering like in automotive, energy, agriculture, military and others. All engineering materials have a surface and therefore any tribological interaction of a solid area against the environment and other materials may lead to loss from the material’s surface. The loss of material is known as wear.

The most common kinds of wear include:

  • Erosion
  • Friction
  • Abrasion
  • Corrosion

Wear can be reduced by making modifications to the properties of the surface through engineering processes like surface finishing as well as lubricant use, especially for adhesive or frictional wear. The use of anti-friction coatings is also one way of preventing wear caused by the interaction of surfaces.


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