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The University of Southampton

SESM6033 Tribological Engineering and Engine Tribology

Module Overview

By minimizing the huge amount of energy and material loses through friction and wear of mechanical components, tribology and lubrication engineering have an enormous role in solving global challenges such as energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, safety and pollution.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • To provide students with an understanding of how tribology fits in the overall narrative of the programme.
  • Establish a fundamental understanding of tribological engineering by balancing both, theoretical and practical aspects of tribology


Topics to be covered will include: - Smooth/rough surfaces in contact, solid friction - Uses of Reynolds equation and Lubrication regimes - Tribological components (gears, bearings) geometry, design and parameters calculation - Lubricants: types, composition, properties, testing and specifications, condition monitoring, health, safety and environment - Damage and failure of tribological contacts - Selection of rubbing materials - Engine tribology: lubrication of components, tribological testing, advanced materials The lectures will draw on examples from applications within the automotive, marine, aerospace, oil and gas and power generation sectors. Emphasis will be placed on achieving low wear and friction and gaining sustainability and fuel efficiency through design of components and selection and condition monitoring of materials and lubricants.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching methods to be employed in the delivery of this module include: •36 lectures (three 45 minute sessions per week) which develop the themes described in this module. Skeleton notes are given out at the start of the course, which means you only have to note down the key points during the lecture, but still have a full set of notes to work from; these will also be made available on Blackboard. • Industrial guest lecture. • Additional research review papers are provided to give an overview of the themes of the course. • Formative online assignments on Blackboard. • Solutions to assigned problems. • Demonstrations and video materials where and when appropriate. The learning activities include: • Individual reading of background materials and course texts, plus work on examples. • Example sheets and solutions.

Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Cameron, A (1966). Principles of Lubrication. 

SAE, Sp-539 (1983). Studies of Engine Bearings and Lubrication. 

Mortier, R.M. and Orsulik, S.T., (1997). Chemistry and Technology of Lubricants. 

Petroleum products and Lubricants. 

R. Lewis and R.S. Dwyer-Joyce (2002). Automotive engine valve recession. 

Stachowiak G.H. (2005). Engineering Tribology. 

Briant, J., Denis, J., Parc, G (1989). Rheological Properties of Lubricants, Chap 8. 

Zhang, X. and Changlin, G (2004). An Intelligent System for Tribology Design in Engines. 

Taylor, C.M (1993). Engine Tribology, Tribology Series. 

Copies of Textbook. to be made available by the lecture team.

Neale, M.J. and Gee, M (2000). Guide to wear problems and testing for industry. 

Williams, J.A., (2005). Engineering Tribology. 

Haycock R. E, Hillier J.E.,. Automotive Lubricants Reference Book. 

Rahnejat, H., (2010). Tribology and dynamics of engine and powertrain:Fundamentals, applications and future trends. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 10%
Assignment 10%
Examination  (120 minutes) 80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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