"Tribology" derives its name from the Greek τρivβως: to rub, hence rubbing and then friction. However, such word also implies wear and lubrication. Today, its definition is the "science and technology of surface contact between members in relative motion of a kinematic pair, and of associated problems of friction, wear and lubrication". Friction and wear have been challenging scientists since time immemorial, who used logs under their sledges (rollers) nine thousand years ago. Six thousand years ago, rollers changed into wheels. Four thousand years ago, lubrication appeared. Two thousand years ago, roller bearings were invented. Five hundred years ago, Leonardo was the first to investigate friction, wear and lubrication. Newton, Amonton, Coulomb, and many others scientists followed. But not until the Sixties did tribology experience an exceptional growth, in consequence of the need, started in England, to save energy by reducing friction, and to save materials by reducing wear.
This work of tribology comprises ten chapters. The first chapter deals with the materials used in tribology, which are mostly mechanical materials, while the second chapter deals with mechanical surfaces, their roughness and coatings. The third chapter refers to friction and to the different friction types: sliding, rolling and impact friction. The fourth chapter deals with wear: abrasive, erosive, adhesive, and corrosive wear of metals, plastics and ceramics, and wear in machining of mechanical components. The fifth chapter relates to lubricants: solid, semisolid (greases), liquid (oils) and gaseous lubricants, and emulsions and additives. The sixth chapter relates to lubrication: squeeze, hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, elastohydrodynamic, machining lubrication, and to complete, incomplete and boundary lubrication. Magnetic levitation is also decsribed. The seventh chapter is dedicated to tribometry: investigation, mainly experimental, about the behavior of non-lubricated and lubricated kinematic pairs. The eighth chapter deals with the efficiency of kinematic pairs and machines, closely related to friction losses, and with their reliability, monitoring and maintenance, related to wear. The ninth chapter is devoted to biotribology, and it refers mostly to biological materials used in bones, teeth and cardiac prostheses. The tenth and last chapter concisely describes the impact of tribological losses on the environment.
Roberto Bassani was born in Treviso in 1931. He began his University career in 1963 at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Pisa, where he became full professor in 1976. He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of Pisa. Professor Bassani has produced more than 280 papers, mainly in the field of tribology. In 2005 he founded the Italian Association of Tribology (AIT) and in 2006 he was awarded the Tribology Gold Metal.