EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R001766/1
Title: Friction: The Tribology Enigma
Principal Investigator: Dwyer-Joyce, Professor RS
Other Investigators:
Marshall, Professor MBJ Wilson, Dr M Ghadiri, Professor M
Brydson, Professor RMD Inkson, Professor B Lewis, Professor R
Liskiewicz, Professor T Mangolini, Dr F Motamen Salehi, Dr F
Perrault, Dr CM Morina, Professor A Slatter, Professor T
Rainforth, Professor WM Armes, Professor SP Leyland, Dr A
Kapur, Professor N Carre, Professor MJ Bryant, Professor M
Nadimi Shahraki, Dr S Kosarieh, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Afton Chemical Ltd (UK) AKZO Nobel BP
Infineum UK Ltd LGC Ltd Micro Materials Ltd
Rail Safety & Standards Board Ricardo Group Rolls-Royce Plc (UK)
Saint-Gobain (International) Teer Coatings Ltd The Timken Company
Virtual Vehicle Wallwork Ltd
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: University of Leeds
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 01 September 2017 Ends: 31 August 2023 Value (£): 5,689,042
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Eng. Dynamics & Tribology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Energy
Transport Systems and Vehicles
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 May 2017 Programme Grant Interviews - 17 May 2017 (Engineering) Announced
26 Mar 2021 Programme Grant Mid Term Review Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Friction plays a central role in life; in transport, in manufacturing, in process engineering, in medical devices and in everyday human activities. Friction has commanded the attention of Amontons, Coulomb and Da Vinci and their simplistic, empirical laws have been the cornerstone of friction theory. At the conceptual and theoretical levels the vast modern day friction literature has revealed the enormous complexity of even the simplest processes and the limitations of the early friction laws. Friction is intimately linked to both adhesion, contact geometry and wear and all require an appreciation of the highly non-equilibrium and non-linear processes occurring over multiple length scales. The challenge presented is that friction in realistic engineering contacts cannot be predicted. Understanding the physical and chemical processes at contacting interfaces is the only route to cracking the tribological enigma. The research gap addressed in this Programme Grant is linked to the development of accurate experimental and numerical simulations of friction. We appreciate that the search for a unified model for friction prediction is futile because friction is system dependent. However, the goal to predict friction is achievable. We have identified 4 key areas where there are current challenges in understanding the origins of friction because of different complexities as outlined below:

- Reactive surfaces; in many systems the frictional contact brings about chemical reactions that can only be described by non-equilibrium thermodynamics. We need accurate kinetic rate data for reactions which can only be provided by advanced in-situ chemical analysis

- Extreme interfaces; these can be described as any interfaces that are inducing high strain rate material deformation and combined with electrochemical or chemical reactions. Simulation and sensing are key to improving the understanding.

- Non-linear materials; in engineering and in biological systems we see the evolution of "soft" materials for tribological applications. Predicting friction in these systems relies on understanding the rheology/tribology interactions.

- Particles and 2nd phase materials; for materials processing or for understanding the transport of wear particles in a contact we need to understand particle-particle friction in complex contact conditions where fracture/deformation are occurring.

Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk