Tribological Testing and Modeling

National Laboratory: 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Characterization Class: 
Extreme Environment Testing
Mechanical Behavior of Materials

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a national leader in tribological research and development (R&D) of advanced materials in both bulk and coating forms. Lightweight materials of interest include titanium, aluminum, and magnesium alloys; ceramics; carbon fibers; and metal-matrix, ceramic-matrix, and carbon-carbon composites. ORNL also is well positioned in conducting friction measurement and modeling for materials processing and manufacturing. ORNL owns three U.S. patents and has published 15 journal papers in the area of lightweight materials tribology. ORNL has been actively involved in the international tribology and standards communities and has developed four ASTM standard tribological bench tests.

Capability Bounds: 

ORNL can accommodate tribological bench testing and analysis of lightweight materials in dry and lubricated conditions under room or elevated temperatures (up to 1000°C) in controlled environments (vacuum and inert gas). The laboratory also conducts friction measurement and modeling for manufacturing processes, such as sheet forming and friction stir jointing.

Unique Aspects: 

ORNL has leading expertise and state-of-the-art facilities for tribological testing and surface characterization of lightweight materials.


Collaborative R&D is available for various partnership arrangements with industry. For example, ORNL has both recent and ongoing cooperative R&D agreements (CRADAs) with Eaton and Cummins, respectively.

Single Point of Contact: 

Name: Dr. Jun Qu
Phone: 865-576-9304

  1. Carbon-based coatings and foams: U.S. Patents 8,821,701 and 8,739,773; Advanced Materials Interfaces (2015) DOI: 10.1002/admi.201500213; Tribology Letters 17 (2004) 879;
  2. Titanium alloys and composites: U.S. Patent 8,771,439; Scripta Materialia 60 (2009) 886; Wear 258 (2005) 1348;
  3. Aluminum alloys and composites: Wear 271 (2011) 1940; Journal of Materials Research 26 (2011) 2479;
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