The research in the Surface Technology and Tribology (STT) group focuses around surfaces and interfaces in an engineering context as well as degradation mechanisms taking place at these surfaces and interfaces. Surfaces and interfaces are typically complex, and in many cases critical in terms of lifetime and degradation. A solid understanding, as well as accurate and validated models of degradation phenomena at these surfaces and interfaces is important to develop efficient maintenance strategies.
Moving interfaces are very prominent in (mechanical) engineering. Phenomena taking place at these interfaces belong to the field of tribology. Typical tribological phenomena are friction and the different wear mechanisms. In the case a lubricant is present, lubrication can be used to separate surfaces and avoid or reduce contact. The development of experimentally validated models of tribological phenomena at interfaces is one of the focus areas. Fundamental to these phenomena is the contact between surfaces, which is the field of contact mechanics.
The second main type of interfaces are stationary interfaces, as are present in, for example, hybrid materials like metal - polymer combinations. In this context, bonding and adhesion are important and subject of research. Surfaces can be engineered to optimize bonding and hybrid materials can developed based on knowledge about the interfaces present in these materials.
Also, transitions from a stationary situation to a sliding situation are common in mechanical contacts. Examples are highly accurate positioning mechanisms, as well as on a totally different length scale, earthquakes. Transitions from stick to slip and vice versa are also subject of study in the research group, both in positioning mechanisms as well as in faults in the subsurface of the earth.Apart from chairing the Surface Technology and Tribology group, I am also the Programme Leader of the EngD Maintenance programme and the director of the SKF University Technical Center (UTC) for grease lubrication.