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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5345M Fundamentals of Tribology

15 creditsClass Size: 130

Module manager: Dr Rob Beadling

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Undergraduate degree in Physical or Engineering Sciences

Module replaces

MECH 5390M Tribology and Surface Engineering

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Tribology is the study of Friction, Lubrication, and Wear. But more importantly it is the study of how engineering materials interact at the surface. The success of engineered systems will often depend on these interactions. Cars need lubricated engines, prosthetic joints need to not wear out, aircraft need lubrication from the landing gear to the bearings in a jet engine.The module will provide a broad introduction to the fundamental concepts and study of tribology, introducing topics such as real surfaces, friction and friction models, wear and fretting, and lubrication.


With a strong foundation delivered through in-person lectures and guest seminars the application of tribology and its current challenges will be introduced across the Mechanical, Medical (Biotribology), Automotive, and Aeronautical engineering disciplines.

Learning outcomes
1. Analyse and evaluate the key concepts of tribology: Friction, lubrication, and wear
2. Develop an appreciation for how real surfaces interact in engineered systems
3. Apply engineering theory to a range of real problems (Hertzian analysis, characterisation of surfaces, laws of friction, wear mechanisms, lubrication regimes)
4. Evaluate tribological challenges across multiple engineering disciplines
5. Measure key tribological parameters in a lab setting.

Upon successful completion of this module the following UK-SPEC learning outcome descriptors are satisfied:
A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of the specialisation (SM1m, SM7M)
Knowledge and understanding of mathematical and statistical methods necessary to underpin their education in their engineering discipline
and to enable them to apply a range of mathematical and statistical methods, tools and notations proficiently and critically in the analysis and
solution of engineering problems (SM2m)
Awareness of developing technologies related to mechanical engineering (SM4m)
Understanding of engineering principles and the ability to apply them to undertake critical analysis of key engineering processes (EA1m)
Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving complex problems in engineering and to assess their limitations
(EA6m, EA6M)
Awareness that engineers need to take account of the commercial and social contexts in which they operate (EL2, EL9M)
Advanced level knowledge and understanding of a wide range of engineering materials and components (P2m, P12M)
Understanding of the use of technical literature and other information sources (P4)
Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others, and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)


- Introduction to Tribology
- Real Surfaces and Contact Mechanics
- Friction
- Wear and Fretting
- Lubrication
- Biotribology
- Automotive Tribology
- Aeronautical and Aerospace Tribology

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Private study hours116.00
Total Contact hours34.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

2 x MCQ tests will be returned with feedback
Lab report assessed and returned with feedback
Monitoring of Minerva/Teams discussion board

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentMCQ Test Formative0.00
In-course AssessmentMCQ Test Formative0.00
PracticalProduction and analysis of friction/wear data to be submitted as a report40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

10% of the practical marks are associated with having completed the laboratory, and 90% of the marks are allocated to the analysis of the results in the lab report. Resit students do not have to retake the laboratory if they’ve already done this and will only need to submit a new analysis report.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 23/10/2023 12:27:40


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