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Tribology Technologies for Sustainable Drivetrains
Mechanical Engineering
Organization logo: Technical University of Munich

About this course

Tribology is an interdisciplinary science. In drivetrains, it concerns friction, lubrication and wear of interacting surfaces in relative motion in machine elements like gears and bearings. Approx. 23 % of the world’s energy consumption results from tribological contacts. Out of this, up to approx. 40 % can be saved by implementing new technologies complying with the principles of green tribology. The number of publications on tribology increases from year to year. Many different research fields like classical tribology, green tribology, biotribology or nanotribology are related to various trends like vehicle electrification, multiscale modelling, machine learning and superlubricity (ultra-low friction). This interactive seminar addresses the ability to distinguish relevant from non-relevant information of scientific publications and to grasp and summarize the essentials quickly. The ability is trained by studying recent tribology technologies and its impact on the sustainability of drivetrains. The seminar also prepares for writing student theses and scientific publications. The following contents will be covered in the module: • Basics of tribology and drivetrains • Sustainable development aspects • Selected tribology technologies • Circle of research and publication structure • Searching and reading scientific publications • Writing and reviewing scientific publications

Expected learning outcomes

After participating in the module, students will be able to • remember tribology technologies for drivetrains, • discuss its impact on environmental sustainability, • understand circle of research and publication structures, • analyze scientific literature and create key statements efficiently, • evaluate recent tribology technology independently regarding energy efficiency, environmental sustainability and technology readiness • present and discuss scientific results, • work in a team of one’s own discipline but also beyond that in interdisciplinary teams, • justify one's own decisions and to convince with arguments.


The examination of the seminar is an exercise and consists of three parts: • Presentation of content and results of a tribology technology project in a 20-minute oral report, including subsequent discussion (30%). • Preparation of a written report (abstract 150 words and three-page executive summary) containing the content and results of a tribology technology project (40%). • Regular discussions with an assigned tutor (research associate) about the progression of the project and next steps (30%). With the presentation, students demonstrate, that they can present and discuss scientific results that were developed in group work. With the written report, they demonstrate their ability to understand circle of research and publication structures and to analyze scientific literature and create key statements efficiently. With the discussion, they show that they can develop ideas and evaluate recent tribology technology independently.

Course requirements

Machine Elements, Engineering Mechanics 1+2, Material Science 1+2, System Engineering for Vehicle Drive Lines (beneficial but not required), Geared Transmissions - Rolling Contacts and its Tribology (beneficial but not required)


The module takes place in form of seminar lectures and a student project. In seminar lectures, PowerPoint presentations are used to explain about tribology, drivetrains, sustainability, research work and publications. Teaching is supported by practical examples. The learning outcomes are checked by comprehension questions. The student project starts after four introductory seminar lectures. Tutor pitches from research associates on different tribology technologies are organized. Small groups with three students each are allocated to a tutor and a tribology technology. Parallel to further accompanying seminar lectures and support from the lecturer and tutors, the student groups scientifically analyze the allocated tribology trend. As an interim check of learning outcomes, student group pitches on the current status and challenges are organized. Scientific reports are submitted as draft version for mutual review among the student groups. After revision, the scientific reports are submitted prior to the final oral report.

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  • Local course code
  • Study load
    ECTS 3
  • Level
  • Contact hours per week
  • Instructors
    Bernd Morhard, Thomas Lohner, Ferdinand Schmid
  • Mode of delivery
  • Course coordinator
If anything remains unclear, please check FAQ page.
  • Start date

    16 April 2024

    • End date
      9 July 2024
    • Main language
    • Apply between
      11 Dec and 19 Jan 2024
    • Time info
    Enrolment period closed