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  • Jost Institute for Tribotechnology

    Tribotechnology team at UCLan

Jost Institute for Tribotechnology

The Jost Institute for Tribotechnology has been established to provide a centre of excellence of international standing for industrially relevant research, teaching and knowledge transfer within the area of tribotechnology.

The purpose of the Jost Institute for Tribotechnology is to foster the development of new knowledge, to engage in the dissemination of best practice and to encourage the exchange of knowledge in tribotechnology to bring economic, environmental and social benefits to society.

What is Tribotechnology ?

Tribology is the science and technology of surfaces interacting in a relative motion. It includes friction, wear, lubrication and interfacial interactions between solids as well as between solids and liquids/gases.

What we do ?

The Jost Institute for Tribotechnology has been established to provide a centre of excellence of international standing for industrially relevant research, teaching and knowledge transfer within the area of tribotechnology. The Institute provides executive support for the International Tribology Council (ITC) which facilitates communication between tribologists on an international basis and its research is conducted in association with national and international partners, such as ESTL - European Space Tribology Laboratory (UK), University of Leeds (UK), KTH - Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), VTT - Technical Research Centre of Finland, Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), etc

Our activity is mainly divided in three areas:

  • Teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • Research in tribotechnology in applications such as aerospace engineering and automotive engineering.
  • Services in knowledge transfer and consultancy including: contract measurement and testing, knowledge transfer networks, training, conferences and workshops.


Welcome to the pages of the Outreach Programme of the Jost Institute at the University of Central Lancashire. We have a large and an established Outreach Programme to promote the use of physics, chemistry, math and engineering as well as computing to better understand tribology. Please navigate this website to discover our activities.


Plasma Discharges research that is highlighted at the Exploring Light and Dark exhibition at the Beacon Museum in Whitehaven in June and July 2016.

For Key Stage 2 students, a plasma ball activity was developed to teach students about the plasma ball that was invented by Nikola Tesla.

The information on the plasma ball and the activity can be found here:

Plasma Ball Information
Plasma Ball Activity

Expertise and Subject Areas

The Jost Institute provides excellent support for academic and industrial research. The Institute covers a wide range of research technologies. These tribotechnologies are applied across a range of engineering application areas focusing on 3M and SWARP.


  • The development of computer models to predict the friction of skis on artificial dry slopes
  • The development of protocols to prevent vibration-induced loosening (“self-loosening”) of threaded fasteners
  • Better understanding of the performance of solid and liquid lubricants used for mechanisms in spacecraft
  • Characterisation of advanced materials and coatings for touch screens
  • Computer models to predict the lubrication conditions for piston-rings packs operating in internal combustion engines
  • Improved understanding of the mechanism of bio-fouling of marine structures;
  • Improved knowledge of the friction performance of materials for seat belt release mechanisms in passenger cars
  • Better knowledge of the performance of materials for fuel delivery systems for passenger aircraft
  • The development of patents for systems to reduce emissions from large marine diesel engines
  • The development of world leading technology to measure the thickness of lubricant films within contacts.
  • University jointly organised successful international conference (LUMBAT 2016) that brought global tribology experts
  • Professor Ian Sherrington has been named as the first Professor of Tribotronics in the world

Courses and Postgraduate Study

BEng(Hons) Mechanical Maintenance Engineering Top-Up

PGCert/PGDiP/MSc Maintenance Engineering


The School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences offers a varied programme of short courses, evening talks, conferences, seminars, workshops and e-learning modules in specialist topics for those working in industry and the professions.

The courses are presented by highly knowledgeable academic experts in their field. They have been developed to meet the needs of professionals who wish to update or refresh their skills, whether for their own satisfaction, to facilitate their work, or to satisfy the requirements of their professional bodies. Clients can therefore be assured that they and their staff are receiving some of the best available professional training.

The Jost Institute can design specific training programmes for key personnel in your company or institution at competitive costs. Please contact Prof. Ian Sherrington to discuss your particular requirements, or visit our Events section for information on conferences, workshops, lectures, etc that may be of your interest.

Continuous Professional Development

The Jost Institute has been awarded a NWUA grant to develop a Continuous Development Programme in Project Management for Engineers (Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Introduction to Project Management, Advanced Project Management techniques to include PMBOK, Prince 2, DMAICT, DMADVT and Agile).

For further enquiries, please contact

Dr Nathalie Renevier
University of Central Lancashire
School of Computing Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEPS)
C&T Building, CM134
Preston, PR1 2HE
Tel: 01772 893316



Working closely with suppliers, end-users and other higher education institutes enable the Jost Institue researchers to make a direct positive impact in the commercial and academic world. These industrial collaborations also provide vital funding and support for research projects.

Industrial Partners

Aero Engine Controls is a joint venture between two key players in the Aerospace Industry: Rolls-Royce plc and Goodrich Corporation.

DME - Danish Micro Engineering is one of the oldest manufacturers of Scanning Probe Microscopes and since 1989 active in nanotechnology.

Oerlikon Balzers, a leading global supplier of PVD coatings. Develop processes, manufacture and market coating systems & turnkey production lines.

AVL is the world's largest privately owned company for development, simulation and testing technology of powertrains for passenger cars, trucks and large engines. A specialist manufacturer of materials for the Electrical, Consumer Products and Reinforced Products Industries. Now part of Krempel Group.

Shell businesses in the UK are part of a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies.

CSM Instruments develops, manufactures and sells instruments to characterize mechanical properties of surfaces.

Micro Materials Ltd provide innovative nanomechanical test instrumentation for a wide range of applications.

Teer Coatings Ltd -specialist Physical Vapour Deposition coatings, design and manufacture coating deposition & test equipment and magnetrons.


Luleå University of Technology
University of Leeds
European Space Tribology Lab. -ESTL
Manchester Metropolitan University
VTT - Technical Research Centre of Finland
IUT - Toulouse
Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm

Members of Staff

Prof. Ian Sherrington
Graham Calderbank
Matthew Dickinson
Dr. Gonzalo Garcia-Atance Fatjo
Dr. Nathalie Renevier
Prof. Ted Smith

Visiting members of staff

Prof Peter Jost
Honorary Professor

Prof Sergei Glavatskih
Visiting Professor

Prof Mitsuhiro Soejima
Visiting Researcher

Prof Jungtung Mao
Visiting Researcher
Xian Jiatong University, China

Prof Emyr W. Roberts
Visiting Professor
Emyr Roberts is a visiting Professor at the Jost Institute. He is highly respected for his expertise in the use of solid lubricants in applications in space and has recently been appointed to the post of Head of the European Space Tribology Laboratory (ESTL). His publication list includes journal and conference papers, a book contribution and editorship of an extensive handbook describing practice in space tribology.

However, as may be expected, much of his work is commercially sensitive and details are not available in the public domain. Prof. Roberts has also served in a number of positions n the Committee of the Tribology Group of the Institute of Physics and consequently has a considerable overview of national activity in the topic.

Prof Peter Kelly
Visiting Professor
Prof Peter Kelly has been Head of the Surface Engineering Group since 2001 (initially at Salford University and now at Manchester Metropolitan University) and has been involved for over 15 years in the academic development of magnetron sputtering processes. He is now amongst the leading academic exponents of this technique in the UK, with more than 75 peer-reviewed publications and many conference presentations made on this subject. Prof Kelly received his first University appointment of Senior Research Fellow in December 1999.

Since this time he has secured research income of approximately £1.25M including several EPSRC grants and external industrial funding (Urenco Ltd., Teer Coatings Ltd., Pilkington Technology Centre). Much of this funding is being directed towards studying the use of the pulsed magnetron sputtering process (including the newly introduced HIPIMS technique) for the production of functional coatings. Prof Kelly combines significant experience in the deposition and analysis of thin films, with the measurement and control of film properties. Prof Kelly is the former Secretary of the Ion and Plasma Surface Interactions Committee of the IOP and a former member of the Surface Engineering Committee of the IOM3 (he holds the grade of FIMMM). He is the UK representative on the new Cost Action: HIPP processes (MP0804).

Dr Gordon A. Jones
Visiting Researcher
Gordon Jones has extensive knowledge and expertise in mechanical engineering, materials science, surface engineering and tribology. Gordon gained a Masters Degree and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Salford. He has published several peer-reviewed papers, and managed surface engineering and tribology centred R&D projects in the UK and USA. He is currently employed as Principal Mechanical Engineer by Waters Corporation Mass Spectrometry, developing technical solutions to highly complex engineering problems.

Gordon’s central research interests are focused on the use of surface engineering techniques to improve the performance of mass spectrometry instrumentation. His specific activities are in the study and modelling of the fundamental physics of adhesion science and its relation to surface contamination phenomena, the study and modelling of oxidation state, growth and dynamics on passivating surfaces, the study and modelling of field and secondary electron emission from engineered surfaces.
Gordon also has extensive experience and expertise in the tribology of mechanical face seals and has several research interests in the development of carbon films for use in mechanical seal face applications.

Prof. R. Derek Arnell
Honorary Professor  
+44(0)1772 893323 


Graham Calderbank
PhD Research Student
C&T Building, CM028
01772 893318

PhD Title : Development of a Lubrication Control System for the piston-rings of a two-stroke marine diesel engine.
Start Date : 01/01/2010
Director of Studies & Supervisor : Prof. Ian Sherrington , Prof. Edward H Smith

Matthew Dickinson
PhD Research Student
C&T Building, CM123 
+44 (0)1772 893261

PhD Title : Nano-engineering of piston rings for race engines
Start Date : 01/01/2010
Director of Studies & Supervisor : Prof. Waqar Ahmed, Dr Nathalie Renevier

Abdul Shah
PhD student
+44 (0) 1772 8933

PhD Title : Mechanical and Tribological Behaviour of Thin Ceramic Coatings Deposited on Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and Polyethylene Naphthalate (PEN) Substrates.
Start Date : 01/10/2010
Director of Studies & Supervisor : Dr Nathalie Renevier, Prof. Ian Sherrington

Weiran Duan
PhD Research Student

PhD Title : Investigation on Surface Characterisation of Magnetorheological Finishing (MRF) Process
Start Date : 01/10/2009
Director of Studies & Supervisor : Prof. Xiongwei Liu, Prof. Ian Sherrington, Dr Nathalie Renevier

Peter Hughes
PhD Research Student 
PhD Title : An Investigation into Marine biofouling and its influence on the durability of concrete sea defences
Start Date : 01/06/2009
Director of Studies & Supervisor : Mr Don Fairhurst, Prof. Ian Sherrington, Prof. Peter Robery, Dr Nathalie Renevier



First run in Preston, LUBMAT 2006 (.PDF, 644KB) was a highly successful conference covering the areas of lubrication management, lubrication technology, lubricant testing, and lubricants & additives.  Click here for the programme, and click here to buy a copy of the proceedings.

The bi-annual LUBMAT Conference and Exhibition on ‘Lubrication, Maintenance and Tribotechnology’ took place in Manchester’s Hilton Deansgate in June, with the special theme of ‘Energy Systems’. Find out more about the event.

Conference main topics  (.PDF, 87KB)

Program (.PDF, 541KB)

Find out more about the First Workshop on Intelligent Machines and Maintenance supported by DVP

Additional Information

Services to businesses

The Institute support businesses through knowledge transfer whilst also offering a wide range of courses and measurement and testing facilities.

Collaborative Research : The Jost Institute invites companies to engage in collaborative research projects, with a purpose to accelerate innovation to benefit companies and the world at large.

Knowledge Transfer : We are actively involved in Knowledge Transfer Partnership helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity.

Consultancy : Our consultancy services cover a range of specialist areas to any industry with tribological needs. If you're unsure, please contact us and we will advise you.

Testing Services : The Jost Institute offers unique capabilities. Our equipment are all operating following international standards operating procedures.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Academic research is a constant source of innovation. We give special attention in converting our research into products and services with can benefit society, and industry (focusing on regional development). The Jost Institute is also actively involved in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP’s).

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is Europe's leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base.

Jones Stroud Insulations

Jones Stroud Insulation Ltd. is a member of the KREMPEL group, headquartered in Germany - a leader in the fields of high technology electrical insulation, composite textile products and base materials. The programme lay in the consumer business unit, where high temperature, high voltage sleeving is manufactured. JSI is well established in all areas of the market with a range of traditional solutions. Increased competition identified a need for significant optimisation of processing methods and technology. The KTP aimed to reduce the cost of production and support the introduction of new and niche product development opportunities by optimising current manufacturing methods through process development and implementation of standard business improvement techniques and the introduction of innovative new processing technologies. There was a shortage of knowledge within the Company of approaches to general experimental design and analysis as applied to converting potential new products and process into production.

The outcomes of the project has led to an increased turnover in excess of 750,000£ p.a. (planned 250,00£) and a cost saving of 720,000£. As a consequence of the project, Six-Sigma has been embraced by senior management during the programme and has led to the implementation of six-sigma techniques across the company. This, in turn, has led to the use of modern statistical techniques in both production and development of new products. Managers and supervisors across site have successfully completed their lean six-sigma green belt training. The KTP has resulted in the creation of NVQ level 2 and 3 portfolios with operators and supervisors trained on business improvement techniques.

The KTP associate has also won the prestigious Business Leader of Tomorrow Award in 2008 and this project is running for the Best KTP partnership in 2010.

Dr Nathalie Renevier

Contact Us

Professor Ian Sherrington – Director of the Jost Institute for Tribotechnology
Jost Institute for Tribotechnology
University of Central Lancashire
C&T Building, Fylde Road
Preston, PR1 2HE

Located at the centre of the University, 10 minutes from the railway station, one hour from Manchester and Liverpool Airports.

Related Projects


The Jost Institute for Tribotechnology research covers the following topics :

Fluid Film Technology
Design and operation of hydrodynamic contacts, e.g. piston rings and journal bearings.

Development of Lubrication Control Systems for Two Stroke Marine Engines
A number of patents have been developed by UCLan for a “lubrication control system”. The system has potential uses in heavy engineering applications such as: two stroke marine diesel engines, large journal bearings and large thrust pad bearings. At present focus is being placed on the development of a system to lubricate the piston-rings of large two stroke marine diesel engines, but other potential applications are also being considered.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

Oil Flow in a simulated ring-pack
This project, supported by a major international company, is examining oil flow in an experimental apparatus. The aim is to study the ways in which oil flows under the rings and to measure the pumping effect of the ring pack.

References: Soejima, M., Smith, E.H., Sherrington, I. and Wakuri, Y. “A Review of Solutions for the Mechanism of Oil Consumption in Internal Combustion Engines”, JSAE 20077160, SAE 2007-01-7160

Contact : Prof. Ted Smith,

Probing Oil Film Thickness in Engines at High Speed and Under Transient Conditions
The main aim of this investigation is to study changes in the thickness of the oil film lubricating the interface between the piston-rings and cylinder liner of an internal combustion engine during changes of operating conditions including changes of load, speed and engine start up in hot and cold conditions, similar to those found in engine test cycles and conventional driving conditions. This will be done principally by making extensive experimental measurements of oil film thickness in a firing engine. However, theoretical studies will also be conducted using software developed over a number of years by researcher at UCLAN. This project is conducted in collaboration with Shell Global Solutions.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

The Effect of Operating Conditions on the Hydrodynamic Lubricant Film Thickness at the Piston-Ring / Cylinder Liner Interface of a Firing Engine.
This investigation has led to the development of a high speed capacitance based system to measure the thickness of the hydrodynamic oil film at the piston-ring / cylinder interface in a firing diesel engine. The system allows liner based sensors to reliably record the ring profile of piston-rings travelling very high linear speeds which was hitherto not possible with this type of sensor technology. A novel high accuracy calibration system, based on a feedback based nano-positioning actuator, has also been developed. The apparatus has been used to investigate the behaviour of the ring pack in a Perkins 900 Series diesel engine under a range of static and near instantaneous dynamic changes operating conditions when lubricated using a range of lubricant grades. Comparison of stroke to stroke data has allowed film thickness changes to be studied in detail, revealing the effect of changes in lubricant and engine operation of oil film condition. This project is conducted in collaboration with Castrol Technology.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington



  • Measurement and characterisation of surface topography
  • Measurement of lubricant film thickness
  • Friction and wear measurement

Development of New Tribological Systems Using Tribotronics
The vast majority of systems for reducing friction and wear are passive. However, it is apparent that a small number of tribological systems developed recently involve active components. The term “tribotronic” has been coined for systems of this type. The advantage of tribotronic systems over passive systems is that active control offers the possibility to selectively manage the friction and wear of a system, offering the chance to control power loss and lifetime through algorithmic management. In this project the design concept “TRIZ” is being applied to generate new ideas for designs for tribotronic systems with particular focus being placed on the actuator element, as this appears to be the key to effective control through tribotronics. This work is being conducted in collaboration with Luleä University of Technology, Sweden

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

Low Friction Coatings for IC Engine Roller Cam Followers
This project involves a tribological investigation of a range of commercially available PVD coatings to establish their suitability as low friction, wear resistant coatings on roller cam follower components in internal combustion engines. It will include wear and friction measurements under a range of conditions of slip ratio, lubricant quantity, load and speed on a TE 53 Cameron-Plint Machine. The project is being conducted in collaboration Kyushu Sangyo University in Japan.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

The Influence of Friction on the Vibration-Induced Loosening of Threaded Fasteners
The aim of this project is to investigate the influence of friction in the vibration induced loosening of threaded fasteners. This phenomenon has been recognised for over 50 years and still not well understood. This project includes the measurement of friction coefficients between fastener materials and coatings, but is focused mainly on studies of the behaviour of nut and bolt combinations through the use of a modified Junker Test machine. Experiments include investigations into jointed components with lateral loads which have with static and dynamic axial loads. Theoretical work to develop analytical models to simulate these studies is also being conducted.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington



Condition Monitoring

  • Monitoring of changes in the wear characteristics of machinery
  • Prediction of remaining useful life
  • Wear debris morphology



Surface Engineering and Coatings

  • Tribological evaluation of PVD and CVD coatings and bonded solid lubricants
  • Self clearing materials

Characterisation and Modelling of micro and nano machining processes
Developing an understanding of nano and micro abrasive processes for the production of optical components. This project is directed towards developing an understanding of nano and micro abrasive processes for the production of optical components. It involves modelling of the process at a nanometre level as well as the characterisation the surfaces of components produced by such processes. Surface characterisation will be conducted using a range of analytical tools, however, the main aim will be to characterise surface and subsurface mechanical properties using a Micromaterials Nano-platform. This project is conducted in collaboration with the National University of Defence, China.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

Failure mechanisms of angular contact ball bearings
Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
Teer Coatings Ltd is an innovative SME, based in Worcestershire specialist PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coatings (the design and manufacture of a wide range of coating deposition equipment, test equipment and magnetrons; commercial coating services; and R&D). The aim of the project is to study the failure mechanisms of 7305 angular contact ball bearings tested under accelerated conditions using a bearing test rig. Some of those bearings have been coated with low friction wear resistant coatings in partnership with Teer Coatings Ltd. Factors such as load, bearing type, lubrication level from dry to fully lubricated are studied to determine life expectancy of those bearings. The bearing test rig has been has been modified and instrumented to measure bearing vibration and temperature.

Contact : Dr Nathalie Renevier

Machining difficult aerospace materials

Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
Unimerco is a specialist tool maker, manufacturing tailored carbide cutting tools for customers. This collaboration is part of a 3rd year undergraduate project. We are looking at the influence of parameters such as cutting tool edge preparation, novel hard coatings, suitability of high speed dry / lubricated machining. Two types of workpiece materials are studied including MMC, fibre glass and aluminium alloys. Tests are performed using a CNC machine fitted with Kistler force / torque measurement. Tool failure mechanisms (ie wear, breakage, edge building up) and the influence of machining parameters on tool life and workpiece QA are investigated. Surface analysis techniques such as profilometry, surface roughness, EDAX surface dot mapping and microscopy are used to measure wear and build-up.

Contact : Dr Nathalie Renevier

The degradation of coatings on rollers

Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
The aim of this project is to study the degradation of coatings applied onto rollers operating in rolling / sliding conditions. Factors such as slip ratio, lubrication, applied load, linear speed are investigated using a TE53 Plint-Cameron. Temperature, friction and wear are measured to enable ranking of the most suitable candidate. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Teer Coatings, and the knowledge gained will be transferred to a collaborative project with Kyushu Sangyo University in Japan.

Contact : Dr Nathalie Renevier

The Influence of Friction on the Vibration-Induced Loosening of Threaded Fasteners

Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
The aim of this project is to investigate the influence of friction in the vibration induced loosening of threaded fasteners. This phenomenon has been recognised for over 50 years and still not well understood. This project includes the measurement of friction coefficients between fastener materials and coatings, but is focused mainly on studies of the behaviour of nut and bolt combinations through the use of a modified Junker Test machine. Experiments include investigations into jointed components with lateral loads which have with static and dynamic axial loads. Theoretical work to develop analytical models to simulate these studies is also being conducted.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

Tribological Assessment of Novel Titanium Nitride Coating Formulations

Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
Titanium nitride is widely used as a wear resistant material, particularly in the form of a very thin coating. It is highly wear resistant and widely used as a coating for cutting tools. However, it has a high coefficient of friction making it a poor choice as a bearing material. This project is directed towards establishing the tribological properties of a recently developed novel form of PVD deposited titanium nitride which has exceptionally low coefficients of friction. Tests will be conducted at ambient temperatures and at elevated temperatures, up to 850 oC using a CSm high temperature pin on disc machine.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington

Tribological Evaluation of Bearing Coatings

Sponsor: Teer Coatings Ltd
This project is directed towards the evaluation, comparison and understanding of the tribological behaviour of established conventional and non-conventional lead containing bearing coatings and substrate materials. It includes extensive measurements of wear rates and friction coefficients on pin on disc and thrust washer test equipment under a range of operating condition. It also includes theoretical investigations in to the thermal conditions which arise at contacts. This project will also consider the tribological behaviour of non-lead based coatings and substrates which may be appropriate replacements for materials conventionally used in industrial applications at present. The project is conducted in collaboration with Goodrich Aerospace.

Contact: Prof Ian Sherrington.



Tribology in Extreme Environments

  • Lubricants for high vacuum applications
  • Lubricants for high temperature applications