Engineering and the Environment

Research Group: national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

Director of Group: Professor Robert Wood

The national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS) has been funded through a successful bid to the Science and Innovation Awards 2007. The overall funding is £9.7 million over five years, with £3.3 million from EPSRC, £1.6 million from industry and £4.8 million from the University of Southampton. This represents the largest ever investment in UK tribology research.

Currently Active: Yes

Group Overview

UK tribology has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the formation of nCATS is timely in that it can lead the agenda for UK tribology research for the next 50 years.

nCATS is a multidisciplinary tribology centre. We aspire to research and solve next-generation tribological design issues and enable surface interactions to occur with minimal energy loss and impact on the environment. We link world-class research groups in key disciplines at the University of Southampton to develop enhanced capabilities in advanced computational and experimental tribology. We have also established strategic research partnerships, with access to facilities, with the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington (NPL) and with the tribology/metrology groups at the universities of Cambridge, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Leeds.

We will provide the next generation of underpinning technology in microsystems, biomedical engineering, engineering and engineering chemistry by developing interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and strategic research partnerships with industry. We will increase the understanding of tribological processes at all scales and apply this to improve surface life.

Research will include developing sensors and novel probes for tribological processes, the tribology of renewable energy systems, manipulating complex microbial communities at interfaces linked to tribological issues of fouling, friction and corrosion, and the use of advanced techniques to understand the human cellular and biological reactions and biotribological performance of joint implants. New self-repairing, adaptive, regenerative and biocompatible surfaces will be developed for less invasive and smarter joint repair or replacement.

Tribology is the essential science of all interacting surfaces in relative motion, is immensely important to the successful operation of engineered machines and natural mechanisms of all scales, and demands multifunctional surfaces. It is core to future transport and energy-efficient machines, the control of emissions and low-maintenance renewable energy systems.

Contact us

  • Engineering Sciences Unit

    Engineering and the Environment
    University of Southampton
    Highfield Campus
    Southampton SO17 1BJ

    Senior Administrative Officer: Sue Berger
    Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2871
    Administrative Officer: Jo Laryea
    Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 5568


Web links
Modelling erosion in a valve

Modelling erosion in a valve

What's related
    nCATS workshop

    How to successfully adapt R&D activities to engineering challenges

    This workshop looks at successfully adapting R&D activities to engineering challenges and the sometimes painful lessons associated with achieving the right solutions. Barry Burdett will be drawing on over thirty years of experience in the introduction of new materials and technology in high integrity engineering across nuclear and aerospace applications.

    To find out more and book your place

    Useful downloads

    Web links


    Members of staff associated with this group:

    Research projects

    Research projects associated with this group:

    Designing biomaterials for tissue engineering and tissue regeneration

    Looking after our skin

    Nanoadditives for lubrication of hydrogen technology

    WS2 as lubricant nanoadditives

    A study on White Etching Crack (WEC) root causes and its relation to material microstructures and surface treatments.

    The science and engineering of shape-shifters

    Delivery of fluoride and antimicrobial agents into dental plaque biofilms

    Metrology to assess the durability and function of engineered surfaces

    Structured Surfaces for Tribological Applications

    Wear Assessment and Forensic Analysis of Failed Hip Replacements

    Luminescent Monitoring for Tribological Coatings

    Simulation-based tailoring of nanoscale friction

    Lightweight ceramic nanotubes reinforced polymer composite coatings and nanofibres with improved impact resistance and responsive functions

    Prolonging the life of machine parts in nuclear applications

    Improved Testing Methodologies for Evaluating the Performance of Paint Systems and Materials

    Particle analysis

    Advanced nanostructured coatings for aluminium alloys

    Scuffing in piston assembly and liner of fired combustion engines

    Tribological behaviour of ultrafine-grained alloys formed by severe plastic deformation

    Designing sensors to detect corrosion in hidden places

    Modelling our tiny uninvited guests

    Structured Surfaces to Trap Bubbles and Reduce Drag and Friction

    Green Tribology

    Rare earth effect on tribological bronze coatings

    Effects of vitamin E and natural lubricants on wear and oxidation of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)

    New generation of protective coatings alternative to hard chrome

    Electron Beam Melting of Biomedical Alloys

    Wear associated with slurry flows with application in oil and gas directional drilling

    Understanding the physics of wet shaving

    Influence of ultimate strength on aged and corroded ships

    Health implications of metal ions and particulates released from hip implants

    How to design better artificial knee joints

    Simulating the friction encountered in oilfield operations

    Nanowear and Nanofretting of Biomedical Materials

    Corrosion Control for Naval Ships

    Co-Ni-P Electrodeposits for Hard Chrome Replacement

    Better methods to measure wear of hip implants

    Upgrade and validate simulator

    Polymer lubrication

    Tribological behaviour of nano-structured alloys processed by Severe Plastic Deformation

    Suspension sprayed surface coatings for specialised applications

    Impact and erosion resistant materials

    Nanoparticles characterization for nanotoxity

    The impact of Friction Modifiers on ZDDP engine oil tribofilms

    A study of Microstructure Alterations in White Structure Flaking Failures of Wind Turbine Bearings


    nCATS has access to the surface engineering and tribology facilities for measurement and analysis at both the University of Southampton and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in the areas of:

    Postgraduate opportunities

    Postgraduate Taught

    MSc Surface Engineering and Coatings (Advanced Mechanical Engineering Science)