If there is no friction in your daily life? - Tribology World -

Prof Koshi Adachi

Saturday, 18 January 2003; 7:30-9:30pm

Keynes Hall, King's College

Friction in the contacting surfaces does exist everywhere in our daily life like air and water. What will change if there is no friction at the interface existing around you such as between your foot and the ground, your finger and the pencil, the pencil and the paper, your buttocks and the chair, the computer and the desk, the chair and the floor and so on? Almost all of people become a bare foot at rowing Punt. You will wet a finger at turning over the page of a book. Your hair will be wet before letting through a comb at barbershop. What can we obtain by small change of friction mentioned above? Could you imagine that "friction" is a key for our comfortable life?
In field of machinery, 75% of its causes of defects, breakdowns and lifetime limitation are associated with damage and volume loss of contacting surfaces. (This phenomenon is called as "wear".) The friction in the contacting surfaces causes most of the mechanical energy losses. In addition, the limit of the performance of modern high-tech machinery is often governed by characteristics of the contact interface. For example, storage capacity of a hard disk drive system is decided by the head-disk spacing, which is controlled by surface design. Therefore, control of interaction (friction and wear) has been recognised as a central aspect of the design of reliable and durable machines, and as key science to contribute resources and energy saving. Especially in the high specification machinery, control of friction and wear is increasingly essential input to achieve ultimate performance.
"Tribology", a term established in 1966, is briefly described as the science and technology for control of friction and wear. Tribology is fundamentally important to the functioning of many kinds of mechanism, both artificial and natural. Friction and wear are complex phenomena. A lot of empirical and scientific knowledge are required to control them such as physics, chemistry, material science, material dynamics, fracture mechanics, hydrodynamics, thermodynamics, biology etc. Tribology is therefore recognised as a generic technology and an interdisciplinary science.
In this seminar, tribological technology for the comfortable daily life and the high-tech advanced products such as liquid crystal display and space machine etc. will be presented together with some demonstrations. Moreover, an advanced friction control technology will be introduced. Finally, future life and future machine realised by well-controlled tribology will be discussed.