Successful tribology event in Wien: ECOTRIB 2019

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ECOTRIB-Congresses (European Conference on Tribology) take place every two years since 2007 and are alternately organized by the participating partners of the ECOTRIB-Consortium (i.e. the national tribology societies of Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria). The Austrian Tribological Society (ÖTG) was again responsible for ECOTRIB 2019, which was scheduled to take place in June this year. The preparations for this international tribology congress already started in autumn 2017.

The aim of this scientific-technical event (and also of the ECOTRIB conferences planned for the future) was/is to reduce the existing knowledge deficit about new tribotechnical methods, processes and products, especially in the field of users. In the context of the international exchange of experience, scientists also had the opportunity to present their current research topics and results. The inclusion of a series of events (“MaTri” – Austrian-Indian Conference on Materials Engineering and Tribology) in the 2019 conference organisation, which has also been held several times in Austria and is well-known among experts, created additional attractiveness for the participants and also offered advantages from the point of view of organi-sational efficiency.

ECOTRIB 2019 in plenary and expert presentations dealt mainly with the following thematic focus areas (in accordance with the supra-regional and international character of the congress in English):

  • Fundamentals of tribology / Nanotribology
  • Tribosystem reliability, lifetime assessment, condition monitoring
  • Novel lubricants and lubrication concepts
  • Modelling and simulation of tribological processes and systems
  • Smart materials and functional coatings
  • Tribosensorics and measuring methods for tribological tasks
  • Biotribology / Tribology in life sciences

The catchment area of the lecturers as well as the participants/listeners was mainly – according to the intentions of the organisation consortium – in the area of Europe Central / South / East, but participants from far away countries (e.g. Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, …) could also be welcomed. A total of 280 participants from more than 30 countries were registered. Not all persons were able to participate in ECOTRIB 2019, e.g. due to visa problems.

The congress was opened by Dipl.-Ing. Adolf KERBL, Managing Director, on behalf of the host (and co-organiser!), the trade association “Metalltechnische Industrie” (FMI), of the Austrian Chambers of Commerce (WKO).

On the 1st and 2nd day of the congress in Vienna, after an introductory lecture block (6 plenary lectures, approx. 30 min each), the event provided for a total of six parallel sessions with more than 160 lectures. For the thematic sessions, “invited lectures” (given by inter-nationally renowned “invited speakers”) could be offered in the programme.

The organisers were particularly pleased with the presence of the acting President of the International Tribology Council (ITC): Dr. Ali ERDEMIR (Argonne National Institute, Argonne, USA).

Dr. ERDEMIR officially opened the technical programme and gave an insight and historical review of the latest successes in the use of materials and surface coatings with regard to superlubricity, i.e. the possibility of realising ultra-small coefficients of friction – also in daily practice.

The other plenary lectures also addressed the “hot topics” of tribology:
Prof. Ashlie MARTINI (University of California Merced, USA) reported on current progress, challenges and possibilities of reactive molecular dynamic simulations in tribochemistry as a tool to understand the mode of action of tribofilms.

Prof. emer. Gwidon W. STACHOWIAK (Curtin University, Bentley, Australia) critically addressed the question of whether progress is possible without tribology – a question that is highly topical in view of the social, economic and ecological challenges facing today’s society.

Prof. Maria-Isabel DE BARROS BOUCHET (Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Laboratory of Tribology and System Dynamics, Lyon, France) presented a novel approach in tribochemistry, namely the investigation of the mechanisms of action of so-called gas phase lubrication (GPL) as a contribution to efficient and sustainable lubrication technologies.

Prof. Hannes HICK (Graz University of Technology – Institute of Machine Components and Methods of Development, Graz, Austria) dealt with the future challenges of tribology arising from current trends in automotive mobility (keyword e-mobility), e.g. for powertrain systems.

Dr. Helena RONKAINEN (and co-authors) reported on the far-reaching possibilities of multi-scale modelling to estimate the mechanical and tribological behaviour of surface layers with regard to wear reduction by simulation methods and thus to support a targeted material design.

On the first two days, the congress event was accompanied by a trade exhibition
(8 national and international research providers, manufacturers of measuring and testing equipment).
The 3rd day of the congress offered a part of the event in Wiener Neustadt (Niederösterreich). In addition to the touristic options (guided tour through the Landesausstellung Wiener Neustadt and the aircraft museum “Aviaticum”), the participants had the opportunity to visit the research institutions at tfz (Technology and Research Centre) Wiener Neustadt, in particular AC2T research GmbH (COMET-K2 Excellence Centre for Tribology), CEST – Competence Centre for Electrochemical Surface Technology GmbH (COMET-K1 Excellence Centre for Surface Technology) and AAC – Aerospace and Advanced Composites GmbH. During the breaks there was sufficient opportunity for communication among colleagues and networking.

It should be gratefully acknowledged that ECOTRIB 2019 was financially supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology, by the State of Lower Austria and by the WKO trade association “Metaltechnology Austria” (FMI – „Metalltechnische Industrie“).

Two “young tribologists” could be pleased about the “ECOTRIB 2019 Best Poster Award” donated by the journal “Lubricants”: Nazli ACAR, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), Germany and Adam AGOCS, AC2T research GmbH, Wiener Neustadt, Austria.

Martina GANTAR-HOFINGER, 08.07.2019