What the Olympics is for athletes, so is the World Tribology Congress for experts concerned with the effects of friction, wear and lubrication, i.e. tribology. This congress, like the Olympics, takes place only once every four years. The sixth was held in Beijing from 17th to 22nd September 2017. With more than 1,800 professionals from 51 nations, it follows on seamlessly from the success story of its predecessors in Turin (2013), Kyoto (2009), Washington DC (2005), Vienna (2001) and London (1997).
Five BAM scientists and engineers participated in this year's World Tribology Congress, headed by Dr.-Ing. Mathias Woydt, Head of BAM’s Macrotribology and Wear Protection Division, and contributed seven papers from the focus areas ‘Materials’, ‘Environment’ and ‘Energy’ to a total of more than 900 congress presentations.
These included, for example, the improved properties of niobium carbide, which is more and more capable of replacing tungsten carbide and tribological investigations under hot steam that allow the recovery of energy from hot car exhaust gases. BAM has developed new models that can predict minimal wear in the area of asperities or simulate the erosion of steels by the impact of billions of ash particles. Another BAM paper dealt with the effects of metal sulphides on the friction behaviour of brakes, while yet a further one investigated the influence of UV radiation on the friction behaviour of polyurethanes. One of Dr.-Ing. Géraldine Theiler’s papers, in which she investigated the friction behaviour of plastic matrices (PAEKs) under simulated space vacuum conditions was especially appreciated. Her poster received the ‘best poster’ award from over 300 entries.
As in the case of Olympic games, as soon as the World Congress is over, tribologists will cast their eyes on the next world congress. BAM also represented Germany in the parallel International Tribology Council (ITC). The council decided that the tribological world would meet again in Lyon in September 2021. Work on this is already underway to provide high-quality results and problem solving. Perhaps BAM will have this World Congress on its own doorstep sometime in the future.