Understanding tribological systems on the micro and nano scale.

Applied Nanotribology

The causes of tribological problems can be found at various levels - from the nano to the micro or the macro scale. Molecular interactions at the atomic level characterize, for instance, the behavior of a lubricant in combination with a specific surface. Mesoscopic effects, such as the effects of the microstructure, roughness and surface strength, are equally important.

In order to understand wear mechanisms, we take a damage mechanics and energy-based approach as well continuous, high-resolution friction and wear measurements. We identify the effects of tribological loads close to the material surface, e.g. during final processing or running-in, with the aid of surface physics and surface chemistry methods. One of the group’s focal points is sport tribology - the group develops, for example, coatings for skis and optimizes the runners on sporting equipment.

Jump to:




Continuous friction and wear analysis for automotive components

Mechanochemistry for the development of wear protection additives

Fundamental tribology research

Tribology in competitive sports

Nano-wear of coatings, e.g. diamond-like carbon layers



Engine tribology


Components in engines have ultra small wear speeds in the range of a few nanometers per hour under optimal break-in. Radio nuclide technology is used to analyze such systems, capturing this small wear rate in real time. Thus, it is possible to use the main leverage of tribological optimization - dynamics of break-in, additive chemistry, and energy controlled finishing. Besides a drastic reduction in friction and wear, the system is also stabilised, with a simultaneous reduction in sensitivity...




Understanding fundamental mechanisms in tribocontact


The fundamental processes determining the service life and efficiency of friction contacts in technical components play out in the first hundred nanometers below the surface. Friction and wear are highly dynamic non-balanced operations, which are subject to intensive feedback. These processes can be better understood in model experiments through a combination of in-situ tribometry, surface physical and chemical measurements, and simulations... 




Triboconditioning in the finishing process


An advanced coating technology permits the setting of a specific topography during the deposition without prior structuring. This leads to substantial progress in friction and wear reduction and therefore to the reduction of lubricants and release agents. The reliability and service life of the drive and system components are significantly increased...






Surfaces are mechanically activated as a result of friction and wear, which leads to chemical reactions in the area near the surface. The tribochemical reactions affect both the break-in of the mechanical system and its long-term behavior. With a careful selection of energy density and chemical environment, the tribochemical reactions can be controlled over wide areas and be used to protect against wear...




Tribology of polymers with nanoparticles


The mechanical characteristics of polymers can be strongly influenced with the use of nanoparticles. Of particular interest is the change of the local shear properties of polymers in the area near the surface and the related effect on friction and wear...




Publications regarding Applied Nanotribology

Contributions to newspapers, books and conferences as well as dissertations and project reports...