BP-ICAM Webinar: Developing and Selecting Tribological Coatings

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Developing and Selecting Tribological Coatings

The Road to No Wear

Professor Allan Matthews, Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology at The University of Manchester and the newly appointed Director of the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, will deliver the fourth BP-ICAM webinar of 2017 on the topic of developing and selecting tribological coatings.


For many years, it was widely believed that the best way to reduce the wear of a surface was to make it harder. This idea was implicit in one of the guiding ‘laws’ of wear (Archard’s Wear law) which stated that wear rate is directly proportional to load and inversely proportional to hardness. In practice, this ‘law’ doesn’t hold true, at least not in the vast majority of real-life wear situations, but this “myth” is still perpetuated in many tribology textbooks.

In practice, what we do know is that both the elastic modulus (E) and the hardness (H) must be considered together when seeking to reduce wear. In fact it is the ratio H/E which gives us the best indicator of wear resistance, especially for coatings.

In this webinar, the reasons for this are discussed and the implications for the development of improved wear-resistant surfaces are outlined, with examples of surfaces which take the optimisation of the H/E ratio as the goal.

Examples of coatings which achieve this will also be discussed, including nanocomposite and nanolayered coatings. Mention will also be to so-called ‘duplex’ coating systems, which combine surface treatments with coatings to gain maximum tribological benefits.

About Professor Allan Matthews

Professor Allan Matthews is Professor of Surface Engineering and Tribology in the School of Materials at The University of Manchester and Director of the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

He spent his early career in the UK Aerospace industry with Hawker Siddeley Dynamics then British Aerospace Dynamics group, before returning to academia and completing a PhD at Salford University in advanced plasma-based coating processes for the deposition of ceramic coatings for industrial applications.

He then moved to the University of Hull, where he was a member of a team which created a new Engineering Department there. He also created the Research Centre in Surface Engineering. After 21 years at Hull, he moved to the University of Sheffield, growing the Surface Engineering research there and also acting as Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering 2007-2011.

He has published over 300 refereed papers as well as several books and book chapters. He has had a central role in many professional and learned societies, including the British Vacuum Council, the American Vacuum Society and the Society of Vacuum Coaters. He has received several awards, including the IoM3 Gold Medal in 2011. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier journal Surface and Coatings Technology

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