The Cambridge Tribology Course: Friction, Wear and Lubrication

10 - 12 September 2018, Moller Centre Cambridge

This highly successful course, now being offered for the 26th 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.





Course outline

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. 



  • Surface topography and contact mechanics
  • Hydrodynamic, elasto-hydrodynamic and boundary lubrication
  • Rheology and lubricant chemistry
  • Wear and friction of metals, ceramics and polymers
  • Surface engineering
  • Test methods in tribology
  • Industrial Case studies

Benefits of attending

  • 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 comments

"Good lectures – good facilities. Would benefit most, if not all engineers from all industries."


"Quality and content of lectures was excellent. The course gives a good appreciation for all the disciplines that make up tribology and an opportunity to meet and share knowledge with people in other industries."


"Very well organised, very interesting high quality lectures."


"Very impressive course and facilities, liked the addition of the walking tour and dinner. Thorough notes and very good speakers."


"The course was excellent; the pace and variation in subject matter (theoretical, mathematician, chemical, engineering) kept interest throughout the three days. Evening activities were well planned, appropriate and enriching."







08.30 Registration

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

Walking tour of Cambridge





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

Course dinner




  • 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

15.00 Course closes 

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.


Professor Michael Sutcliffe is Professor in Mechanics of Materials 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.


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Event location


The course will be held at the Moller Centre, Cambridge.


Delegates will have the option to take a specially arranged walking tour of the historic city centre on the Monday evening.




Earlybird rate £1,830 plus VAT (£2,196 inc) until 31 May 2018. From 1 June, the cost will be £1,885 plus VAT (£2,262 inc)


The course fee includes lunches on all three days, a Cambridge walking tour and the Course Dinner.


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



To book on-line using a credit card, please click here to go to the on-line shop. Alternatively, please fill in and return the booking form to:


Lisa Barnett

T: +44 (0) 1223 766141

F +44 (0) 1223 464217




Substitutions may be made at any time. Bookings cancelled less than 10 working days prior to the event will be charged in full.


We reserve the right to modify the programme of any event up to the day of the event.


It may, in exceptional circumstances, be necessary to cancel or rearrange an event at short notice. IfM and IfM ECS can accept no liability for loss caused by cancellation or rearrangement. Its liability is limited to refund of the registration fee if the event is cancelled. For further information on our Terms and Conditions, please click here.




Lisa Barnett

T: +44 (0) 1223 766141

F +44 (0) 1223 464217



Book now