High temperature tribology

© Fraunhofer IWM

We make friction and wear of materials and components calculable: with our experiments we examine the tribological effects of materials and their surfaces.

High operating temperatures are ubiquitous: they can be found in drive units, in industrial production processes like hot forming and machining and in energy production. The challenge comes in cases in which high temperature liquid lubrication is not possible, yet components are still expected to function reliably and for an extended period of time.

High temperatures often inhibit the efficiency of systems under high frictional stress. Moreover, high temperatures are not only generated by the environment, but also by friction heat.

Different material classes – polymers, metals, ceramics and coatings – react very differently to increased operational or friction temperatures: While polymers and some coatings mostly dissolve thermally, other materials react chemically with the atmosphere or are plastically deformed within tribological contacts.

It is a special challenge to construct experimental tests in which thermal effects – including interaction with the atmosphere – can be simulated in an application-related manner. Only then can truly relevant statements about the tribological behavior of systems in increased temperatures be generated.

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, It is our job to investigate the tribology of materials and components at high temperatures in order to contribute to the description and improvement of a given system’s efficiency, reliability and life span.

© Fraunhofer IWM
Friction tests at high temperature, for example for combustion engines or forming processes

Topics and projects at the Fraunhofer IWM concerning high temperature tribology


  • Friction and wear behavior of plain bearings at high operating temperatures
  • Tribology of combustion engines, especially their valves/valve seats or pistons/cylinders
  • Development and qualification of coatings for high operating temperatures
  • Development of ceramic tools for the hot pressing of magnets
  • Tribology of hot forming processes, for example barrels, drums and extrusion molding
  • Tribological qualification of ceramic or coated cutting tools
  • Further development of tribological testing technology at high temperatures and in defined atmospheres
  • Numerical simulation of thermomechanical stress in friction contacts
  • Wear simulation at high temperatures
© Fraunhofer IWM
Example trial: tube welding line
© Fraunhofer IWM
Basic high temperature test setup of an oscillation abrasion test stand (Schwingungs-Reibverschleiß-Prüfstand or SRV)
© Fraunhofer IWM
Test arrangement with active heating



  • Zhao, B.; Khader, I.; Liu, H.; Zhou, T.; Konrath, G.; Kailer, A., Tribological characterization of an alumina-based composite in dry sliding contact against laser-heated and unheated Inconel 718, Tribology International 155 (2021) Art. 106773, 13 Seiten Link
  • Zhao, B.; Khader, I.; Raga, R.; Konrath, G.; Degenhardt, U.; Kailer, A., High temperature tribological properties of silicon nitride in dry sliding contact against Inconel 718 heated by laser, Wear 434-435 (2019) 203000, 9 Seiten Link
  • Khader, I.; Renz, A.; Kailer, A.; A wear model for silicon nitride in dry sliding contact against a nickel-base alloy; Wear 376-377/Part A (2017) 352-362 Link
  • Renz, A.; Kürten, D.; Lehmann, O.; Wear of hardfaced valve spindles in highly loaded stationary lean-burn large bore gas engines; Wear 376-377/Part B (2017) 1652-1661 Link
  • Renz, A.; Khader, I.; Kailer, A.; Tribochemical wear of cutting-tool ceramics in sliding contact against a nickel-base alloy; Journal of the European Ceramic Society 36/3 (2016) 705-717 Link
  • Rapoport, L.; Moshkovich, A.; Perfilyev, V.; Lapsker, I.; Kugler, M.; Kailer, A.; Renz, A.; Hollstein, T.; High temperature friction behavior of CrVxN coatings; Surface and Coatings Technology 238 (2014) 207-215 Link
  • Khader, I.; Renz, A.; Kailer, A.; Haas, D.; Thermal and corrosion properties of silicon nitride for copper die casting components; Journal of the European Ceramic Society 33/3 (2013) 593-602 Link
  • Khader, I.; Hashibon, A.; Albina, J.-M.; Kailer, A.; Wear and corrosion of silicon nitride rolling tools in copper rolling; Wear 271/9-11 (2011) 2531-2541 Link
  • Khader, I.; Kailer, A.; Damage mechanisms in silicon nitride wire-rolling tools: Lab-scale experiments and correlation with finite element modeling; Journal of Materials Processing Technology 210/10 (2010) 1314-1325 Link
  • Kailer, A.; Mauk, P.-J.; Eckardt, C.; Berroth, K.; Kozlowski, J.; Wagemann, A.; Ceramic rolling tools for enhanced lifetime and product quality; Steel Research International 79/Special Edition; Pietrzyk, M. (Ed.) Verlag Stahleisen, Düsseldorf (2008) 401-406 Link

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