Where there is movement in a system you will almost always find a lubricant of some kind. From snowboards to CNC machines, and from your knee joint to the CV joint of a car, all require lubricants to operate reliably and efficiently. That lubricants are so widely used in so many different applications means that there is no single way to make a lubricant, as they often have to perform many different tasks. For some they must cool as well as reduce friction, for some they must stop foaming or corrosion, whilst others might need to survive extreme pressures or temperatures. With all these competing needs, lubricant design is highly application specific, so researchers utilise lab equipment such as the MTM, ETM, EHD and MPR to help develop lubricants and test them at representative conditions.
Going forward, tribology will be as important as ever in the design and development of lubricants. This innovative work is integral to improving efficiency and reliability in systems and making sure they can last the test of time. Tribologists play a key role in making systems more sustainable and environmentally friendly, and in doing so are helping to protect the future of the planet.