Understanding friction, lubrication and wear

SAIT Mission Statement

South African Institute for Tribology


The 10th International Tribology Conference Report by Prof. Philip de Vaal, Conference Chairman

This event, which normally occurs at three-year intervals, took place on 5, 6 & 7 April 2011 at the University of Pretoria’s Conference Centre in Pretoria.

The South African Minister of Science & Technology, Naledi Pandor, officially opened the proceedings.

Naledi Pandor,

Minister Naledi Pandor, giving the Opening
Address at Tribology 2011.

Two guest speakers were invited:

Professor Kristian Tønder

Professor Emeritus at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU. (Formerly University of Trondheim, NTH).

Professor Tønder's plenary paper, Bearing Texturing: Possibilities and Limitations, highlighted a number of important aspects regarding the practical design of bearings and how these relate to the performance of bearings, based on a sound mathematical approach.

Professor Tønder has attended every International Tribology Conference arranged by the SAIT.

Professor Bharat Bhushan

Ohio Eminent Scholar, The Howard D. Winbigler Professor in the College of Engineering, and the Director of the Nanoprobe Laboratory for Bio- & Nanotechnology and Biomimetics (NLB2) at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Professor Bhushan’s paper gave an exciting and inspiring overview of cutting-edge technology, focusing on a very active field of research, with many practical implications, namely Nanotribology, Nanomechanics and Materials Characterization Studies and Applications to Bio/Nanotechnology and Biomimetics.

Minister Naledi Pandor, with Guest Speakers Professor Bharat Bhushan & Professor Kristian Tønder, and Prof. Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.

Professor Wilfried Bartz, one of our most loyal supporters from overseas, once again gave a very practical and relevant paper entitled High Performance Greases - Definition, Formulation, Properties and Application. The benefit of sharing in the lifelong experience of experts is often not valued as it should be.

Twenty-seven papers were presented, covering the wide field of Tribology. Of these, seven were presented by delegates from overseas, while the balance was contributed by local presenters. Contrary to previous years, no parallel sessions took place, primarily because of the smaller number of papers submitted and presented. This provided delegates with the opportunity to attend all presentations.

In general, the quality of papers was of a high standard. Many addressed issues of relevance to industry and were of a practical nature. Papers that deserve special mention are those by Charles du Bois, addressing the phenomenon of micro-pitting on gear surfaces; Leslie Barker of Eskom, elaborating on substantial energy savings that can be made by proper selection of lubricants; and Eben du Plessis who showed how Minimal Quantity Lubrication, (MQL) can be put to good use to address issues around the Environment, while at the same time ensuring substantial savings on the use of lubricants and simplifying many problems related to the handling of cutting oils and associated contaminants.

The afternoon of April 6th was devoted to technical visits. Delegates could choose between four possible visits: to ThermaSpray in Midrand; the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (NECSA) near Hartebeespoort Dam; Ceradvance in Kempton Park; or a tour of the facilities related to Tribology in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical and Materials Engineering of UP.

During the conference, exhibitors displayed their presence and capabilities – again an essential component contributing to the success of the event.

The conference offered something for all, enabling discussion and the opportunity to network.

Prof Philip de Vaal, Chairman of Tribology 2011

The SAIT is indebted to Prof Philip de Vaal for organising the SAIT’s International Conferences for many years. His dedication and hard work are much appreciated.


South African Institute of Tribology

Understanding lubrication, friction and wear


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