Undergraduate Course: Tribology of Machine Elements (MEC411)

Brief Description (including aims of course):

To familiarise engineering students with the basic concepts of tribology which would be useful in choosing and designing various tribological machine elements like bearings, gears, cams and constant velocity joints.

Course Objectives:

To create an awareness of the importance of tribology in design and selection of machine elements.

Course Outline:

Wear, Friction and Contact Mechanics:

  1. Introduction to Tribology - Tribological Failure Analysis
  2. Wear Analysis Process
  3. Wear Mechanisms
  4. Surface Examination and Characterisation
  5. Contact Mechanics
  6. Roughness, hardness, friction
  7. Wear Testing
  8. Wear Modelling and Mapping
  9. Case Study: Twin Disc Testing
  10. Surface Engineering

Lubricants and Lubricant Films:

  1. Lubrication and Lubricants 1: Properties of Lubricants
  2. Lubrication and Lubricants 2: Lubrication Regimes
  3. Lubrication and Lubricants 2: Design of Lubricants (Guest)
  4. Hydrodynamic Lubrication 1: Reynold’s Equation
  5. Hydrodynamic Lubrication 2: Fluid Wedges & Pad Bearings
  6. Hydrodynamic Lubrication 3: Plain Journal Bearings
  7. Hydrodynamic Lubrication 4: Plain Journal Bearings
  8. Elasto-hydrodynamic Lubrication
  9. Assessment / Tutorial (Double Session)
  10. Review
  11. Tutorial

Text Books

Core Text: Engineering Tribology by J.A. Williams, Oxford University Press

Secondary Texts:

Tribology by I Hutchings, Edward Arnold
Engineering Tribology by Stachowiak & Batchelor, Butterworth-Heinnemann 
Lubricant Selection – A R Lansdown, PEP Ltd


  • Exam and Assessment Day Exercise
  • Weighting: 80% Exam, 20% Assessment Day
  • Exam:
    • Part 1 – 30 Marks – Compulsory short response questions (5 marks)
    • Part 2 – Answer one question from two – Lubrication topics (25 marks)
    • Part 3 – Answer one question from two – Wear topics (25 marks)

For more information contact Dr Matt Marshall.