The Cambridge Tribology Course: Friction, Wear and Lubrication 2019

Intensive three-day programme offering an excellent opportunity to gain an overview of the field of tribology.


This highly successful course, now being offered for the 27th time, provides an insight into the principles which underlie this important topic. The course is run by the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering, a worldwide centre of excellence in the field. Tribology - the science and technology of friction, wear and lubrication - makes a vital contribution to almost every area of industrial activity and yet is often under-represented in the education of scientists and engineers.


What you will learn

The course consists of an intensive three-day programme delivered by leading experts. It offers an excellent opportunity to gain an overview of the field of tribology. Lectures, combined with informal discussion periods and a workshop session, will cover the key elements of the subject and will be complemented by case studies drawn from current industrial practice.

  • Provides a comprehensive and cost effective overview of this vitally important area
  • Introduces the theory and practice of friction, wear and lubrication in an industrial context
  • Combines lectures and informal discussion periods with practice in problem solving
  • Gives valuable, informal access to leading experts
  • Enables networking with professionals from other sectors to share ideas and practice
  • Provides a comprehensive volume of course notes and supporting material in electronic form for all participants

Course programme

Day 1 

  • Structure of surfaces
  • Contact mechanics
  • Surface topography and surface contact
  • Rheology and lubricants
  • Fluid film lubrication (i)
  • Open forum

Walking tour of Cambridge


Day 2

  • Unlubricated friction
  • Fluid film lubrication (ii)
  • Surface engineering for Tribology
  • Lubricant chemistry
  • Introduction to sliding wear
  • Testing methods in tribology
  • Workshop session

Course dinner


Day 3

  • Wear by hard particles
  • Wear of polymers
  • Case studies in surface engineering
  • Case studies in lubrication or Case studies in nano-tribology (option)
  • Tribology in practice


Who should attend?

  • Scientists and engineers who need an appreciation of the technical basis of the subject
  • Design and research engineers who have recently moved into the field and wish to improve their background knowledge and understanding

Individuals who have benefited from attending the course in the past include development chemists, research physicists, technicians, technical support engineers, sales managers, materials scientists, project engineers, technical and product managers, and research students.


A certificate of attendance is provided.


Course tutors

Professor Ian Hutchings FREng  (joint Course Director) is GKN Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing and was for many years Editor-in-Chief of the journal 'Wear'.


Professor John Williams FREng (joint Course Director) is Professor of Engineering Tribology in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge, a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the IMechE Tribology Committee.


Professor Steve Bull FREng is Professor of Surface Engineering at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He has considerable experience in surface engineering and process technologies and applications in the automotive, aerospace, power generation and general engineering industries.


Dr Stephen Kukureka is Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy and Materials at the University of Birmingham, with research interests in polymers. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Fellow of the Institute of Physics and former Chair of the Institute of Physics Tribology Group.


Mr George Plint is Managing Director of a major supplier of tribology test equipment with special interests in experimental design of test instruments and tribological contact analysis.


Dr Nicholas Randall is Head of Technical Services and Business Development of a company specialising in surface mechanical properties characterisation equipment, including nano-tribology.


Dr Glyn Roper is a lubrication consultant with long experience of formulation and testing at the Shell Research Laboratories at Thornton, Cheshire.


Dr Michael Sutcliffe is a Reader in the Department of Engineering at Cambridge and has research interests in both materials science and tribology.


Professors Bull, Hutchings and Williams and Dr Roper have all been awarded the Tribology Trust Silver Medal.


More information


Bespoke programmes

This short course can be run in-company, at a location of choice, for organsations that would like to train multiple employees on the content. We can tailor content to meet specific organisational requirements to further enhance the learning experience. Please contact us for further information (email - or call +44 (0) 1223 766141).


Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

This event may contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of the your professional institution's monitoring scheme.


University of Cambridge endorsement

IfM open courses are endorsed by the Board of Executive and Professional Education.








Key details

Duration: Three days


Cost: £2000 plus VAT to include the course dinner, all daytime refreshments and course materials


Location:  Moller Centre, Cambridge (view map and directions)


Overnight accommodation with breakfast can be booked at the Moller Centre for the nights of Monday 9 & Tuesday 10 September 2019 at a cost of £135 + VAT per night, subject to availability.


Most of the luxury en-suite rooms look out onto Churchill College grounds and offer a wide range of guest facilities - complimentary wifi, tea and coffee making, satellite tv, complimentary water, mini bar, Molton Brown toiletries and free car parking.



The Course Dinner will be held in the beautiful surroundings of St
John’s College, in the heart of the city.




IfM members and alumni are entitled to a 10% discount off the course fees. For details of our membership scheme see click here.


Booking confirmation and cancellation policy.


For further information please contact:

Ella Whellams

T: +44 (0) 1223 748262