The term tribology comes from the Greek word ‘tribos’ meaning ‘friction’. It was first used in a report by the UK Ministry of Education and Science in 1966. Since then it is defined as ‘the science and technology of surfaces that interact with each other while in relative motion, and the practical issues associated with that.’ Fundamentally, it includes friction, wear and lubrication, and uses Physics, Materials Science and Applied Mechanics to deal with associated issues.
In 1979, US President at the time, Jimmy Carter, declared tribology a generic technology. Although as a single industry it is small, the effect of tribology on various technologies and industry means that it is a ‘common platform technology’ with an extremely large impact. Therefore the Tribology Research Centre was established at Northwestern University in 1984. Then the American Society of Lubrication Engineers (ASLE) was renamed the Society of Tribologist & Lubrication Engineers (STLE). The Japanese Society of Tribologist was established in 1992.