PROJECT DETAILS: How low can you go? – A step towards functional aqueous super-lubricity. 

Aims and Objectives:

Natural synovial joints, such as hip, knee and shoulder, are some of the highest load bearing tribological systems known to man, resisting years of deformation and wear whilst maintaining ultra- low fictional coefficients across a range of different sliding speeds. For many engineering applications, this is an ideal material. To date no solutions have been proposed that give similar performance whilst capable of delivering load bearing, functional properties desired from a tribological material.

Low modulus, aqueous materials, better known as hydrogels, are becoming of more interest in the tribology field for water lubricated systems. Friction coefficients as low as 0.005 and seemingly unmeasurable wear in aqueously lubricated systems are promising for a whole range of applications. However such materials are yet to be translated to many application due to their in ability to support load through fluid pressurisation.

This project will take inspiration from the natural synovial joint to produce a bearing system capable of providing low wear and friction across a range of loading situations. This will be achieved by utilising state-of-the-art high resolution, multi-material additive manufacturing methods, and the integration of novel and existing polymer chemistries to produce bi-phasic, bio-inspired functional materials.

As part of this project you will be expected to develop methods suitable for the characterisation of The objectives are:

  • Conduct and critically review literature in the area of poro-elastic lubrication and propose suitable designs to

  • Fabrication, optimisation and characterisation of multi-modulus aqueous materials for functional aqueous lubrication.

  • Design and develop suitable methodologies for testing low modulus materials. This will be capable of applying loads and displacements suitable for soft systems.


Supervisors: M. Bryant, A. Beadling, A. Neville.

Project Updates:

Team Report Jan 2017

Group Presentation Jan 2017