The University of Southampton
Engineering and the Environment

Research project: Green Tribology

Currently Active: 
Yes

Exploring environment-friendly solutions to problems of friction, wear and lubrication and seeking inspiration from nature.

Project Overview

However, established solutions in these areas often rely on petrochemical-based lubricants which are associated with their own environmental costs. Green Tribology is a newly established field of engineering research which focus on low impact ways of reducing friction and wear. New lubricants can be designed based on renewable natural materials or may even be dispensed with altogether if solid wear-resistant surface coatings can be introduced. Renewable energy systems such as wind turbines are a natural area for Green Tribology engineering.

A further major impetus for research is bioinspiration – studying the solutions that nature has evolved for the lubrication of joints in living organisms. One area already receiving intense research efforts is the replacement of diseased hip and knee joints in human patients, and this continues to be a focus of Green Tribology.

This project is funded by a 5 year Platform Grant which enables a wide variety of feasibility projects in various areas of Green Tribology to be undertaken. In addition to joint replacements and wind turbines, projects looking at the use of carbon nanomaterials in lubrication, and the reduction of friction-causing slime on ships’ hulls are underway.

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

Staff

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