The tribology laboratories – research applicable in practice

The tribology laboratories at the Institute of Machine and Industrial Design – part of the BUT Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – work with advanced machines, perform unique research activities and cooperate with companies from all over the world. Contracts and the laboratory are under the lead of Ivan Křupka, head of the Tribology department, who is also the head of tribology research at the NETME .

Recently, there were two experimental devices developed in these laboratories that are used by one of the leading Japanese automotive industry companies.

“We have contracts from all over the world,“ says Křupka. “For example, we specially developed two tribometers for the Japanese automotive industry.“

Tribology research activities are related to issues such as contact between wheel and rail. The focus of this area is particularly targeted at the modification of friction in contact with the wheel and the rail, noise reduction, or reduction of wear. The results of previous projects in cooperation with industrial partners led to the development of an intelligent lubrication and sanding system, which is now used on some tram lines in Brno.

Some of the researchers deal with biotribology, thus analyzing processes of friction, wear and lubrication in relation to the human body. Thanks to the application of advanced experimental methods, the researchers succeeded to comprehensively describe the behaviour of the lubricant film in the hip joint replacements. Another study was focused on the wear analysis of cups explanted from the bodies of patients due to implant failure.

The third laboratory section is elastohydrodynamic, whose members are trying to understand the problems of bearing lubrication, the effect of surface roughness on the lubricating film or the influence of impact loading and vibrations on lubrication processes of machine parts.


Pendulum hip joint simulator.

Laboratory tribometer for the investigation of starved lubrication conditions.

Testing of the system for friction modification in wheel/rail contact.