Tribology Program Fills Skills Gap

A one-of-a-kind program at Auburn is helping develop manufacturing engineers with hands-on experience that translates directly to real-world jobs. 

By Michelle Segrest, Navigate Content, Inc. - Reporting for Efficient Plant Magazine

Whether it’s an airport runway, a manufacturing robot, fluid couplings, power transmission, a tile floor, human-joint replacement, hard-drive technology, or biomedical equipment, surfaces are in constant contact with each other in the mechanical world. The result is friction and wear. In fact, one fourth of the world’s manmade energy is lost to friction. Tribology is used to maintain, control, monitor, and positively manipulate friction, and studying it has the potential to make innovative contributions to industry, society, and environmental conservation. “Friction is very complicated,” said Robert L. Jackson, Ph.D., professor and director of the Auburn Univ. Tribology Program, Auburn, AL ( “We teach our students to not oversimplify. Friction changes with elements like temperature, humidity, and the geometries of the surfaces. Everything affects it, and it’s difficult to predict. Part of what we teach is to know where to look. In engineering, we are teaching specifics, but we are also teaching the students where to look for solutions and how to solve problems.” To read the full story, please follow this link.