Predicting friction and wear

more info


This business unit carries out research into friction and wear. We optimize tribological systems and develop solutions that reduce friction and protect against wear with the aid of technical ceramics, innovative lubricants, tribological layer systems and tribo-materials conditioned for manufacturing technology.

We investigate friction, abrasion, running-in and wear mechanisms as they affect the tribo-chemistry of machine elements such as roller and slide bearings, cutting and forming tools or motor and gear elements. We use experimental techniques, multi-scale modeling and numerical simulations as well as microstructure analysis.

What we offer


  • Determination of mechanical and tribological properties of materials, composites and coatings under operational conditions
  • Evaluation and optimization of the performance of protective wear-resistant coatings and friction contacts
  • Load analyses, trials and evaluation of failure mechanisms for metal, ceramic and plastic components
  • Production and evaluation of smooth and structured diamond-like carbon coatings for large sliding and rolling loads
  • Development and application of lifetime prediction methods


Wear Protection and Advanced Ceramics


We use experimental friction and wear analysis methods to determine friction coefficients and wear rates, including Stribeck curves. We test, assess and ...

Multiscale Modeling and Tribosimulation


We perform numerical simulations on various scales into the static and dynamic properties of material systems in order to understand the relationship between the ...

Polymer Tribology and Biomedical Materials


We develop mechanical tests with which to assess the reliability and service life of orthopedic and dental materials and implants in order to determine, for ...

Tribological and Functional Coatings    


One of the keys to reducing friction and protecting against wear is to coat components with diamond-like carbon (DLC) or hydrocarbon layers. With the help of in-built elements that modify networks into ...

Triboconditioning and -analytics


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 ...

© Fraunhofer IWM

MicroTribology Centrum µTC


The Fraunhofer IWM and the Institute of Applied Materials – Reliability of Components and Systems (IAM-ZBS) at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology KIT cooperate with each other in the Tribology research department. The joint initiative MicroTribology Centrum µTC combines the competencies of these two institutions in industrially relevant research, in fundamental research and in academic activities.

A particular highlight here is the customized Tribo-Contact – the key to success for energy efficiency, a long service life and cost effectiveness.