Experimental and numerical Tribology

The research unit Tribology at Soete Laboratory consists of closely collaborating and complementary experimental and computational research teams.

The team on experimental tribology, led by Prof. Patrick De Baets, focusses on the tribological response (friction, friction stability and wear) of advanced materials such as fibre reinforced composites, high temperature ceramics and various self-lubricating materials in dry or marginally lubricated conditions. Apart from fundamental research, the group is been active in industrial projects on tribology and machine design. In addition to the standard laboratory scale tribological test equipment, different unique and large-scale experimental tribological set-ups for dry and lubricated contact conditions, with contact loads ranging from kilo-Newton to Mega-Newton force are designed and constructed. Furthermore, experience has been acquired on advanced instrumentation techniques, such as infrared thermography, 3D Digital Image Correlation and condition monitoring through vision systems.

The team on computational tribology has recently been initiated by Prof. Dieter Fauconnier , who has a strong research and industrial background in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). The tribological research is therefore mainly focused to multi-scale and multi-physics modelling and simulation of fluid-and particle-related tribological issues. This involves both lubrication modelling (e.g. TEHL) and erosion-abrasion modelling. Multiple simulation techniques are applied and coupled, such as CFD, FEM, Discrete-Element Methods, Molecular Dynamics, and Optimization tools. To enable the most demanding multi-scale and multi-physics simulations, we rely on the High-Performance Computing infrastructure such as the Tier-2 infrastructure at UGent and the Tier-1 infrastructure at the Flemish Supercomputer Centre (VSC).


Experimental Tribology

Prof. Patrick De Baets

Numerical Tribology

Prof. Dieter Fauconnier

  • Embedded CFD-MD Multiscale Modelling for Thin Film Lubrication
  • Development and validation of modelling techniques for lubricated contacts
  • Finite element and discrete element modelling of damage in scratch abrasion

case studies