We are experts in friction and wear testing

The Tribomaterials group are experts in tribological testing at the laboratory scale. We always focus on making the test relevant, i.e. that the test is run under conditions that correspond to the application. In addition, the methods should preferably allow accurate measurement of the friction and use test bodies of a size that allow accurate microscopy analysis and wear measurement.

Why is testing so important?

The complexity of tribological contacts greatly limits the ability to predict the performance, service life and friction behaviour of tools or mechanical components based on theory. Rather, such predictions or optimized choices of design, materials or surface treatment require extensive tribological testing.

Another important goal of tribological testing is to increase the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of friction and wear behaviour, through detailed investigations of the contact surfaces. Often such investigations require sophisticated electron microscopy and advanced surface analysis. The increased understanding is needed to develop better tribological materials, coatings and surface structures. An increased basic understanding is also needed to develop numerical tools for tribological analysis and longevity predictions.


The Tribomaterials group has over the years developed and built a versatile collection of test rigs, often designed specifically for given contact situations.

Materials can behave very differently depending on the details of the tribological contact situation. In order to know how something is best tested, an understanding of what controls the behaviour in the intended application is needed. If a test set-up fails to recreate the wear mechanisms that dominate in the application, it is of very limited value. To ensure that a method actually reproduces the correct wear mechanisms, we use SEM and other advanced surface imaging and analysis techniques to compare surfaces worn in the test with those worn in the intended application.

Unique set of test equipment and long experience of relevant testing

For us, new projects often result in us - in collaboration with our project partners - designing a new rig or modifying an existing one, in order to better mimic the specific applications.

A wide range of test geometries is available in the various rigs of the Tribomaterials group.

Our long-standing experience has resulted in more than 50 publications on how to test, on new test techniques and on how to best evaluate friction and wear properties and then map out the underlying mechanisms.

In total, we currently have 23 different rigs, with a total of 40+ configurations and sample body geometries.

Contact types: sliding, abrasive, erosive, fretting, impact, rolling, etc.

Normal loads

from 1 mN to 20 kN

Nominal pressures

from 1 MPa to 10 GPa

Sliding speeds

from 1 µm/s to 20 m/s

Micro mechanical evaluation

The tribology rigs are accompanied with equipment for determination of micro hardness, nano hardness, hot micro hardness, scratch resistance, adhesion, Young's modulus of thin layers, etc.

Equipment for post-test surface analysis

Careful analysis of the tested surfaces is essential in almost all our research. Via the MSL lab at the Ångström laboratory we have access to broad range of advanced equipment for microscopy, surface analysis and precision cross-section preparation. This includes High resolution SEM with EDS analysis, white light interference topography analysis, AFM, FIB and BIB for cross-section preparation, XPS, TEM, and more.

Last modified: 2023-06-26