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Space tribology

Welcome to one of our monthly seminars!
Presented at KTH and digital on zoom.

Time: Wed 2022-06-01 15.15 - 16.00

Location: E3, Osquars backe 14

Video link:

Language: English

Participating: Román de la Presilla

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Our next monthly seminar is about Space Tribology, and the topic will be presented by Román de la Presilla on 1st of June! This talk will introduce tribology: the science of friction, wear, and lubrication; and how the conditions of space affect it. Covering the different lubrication regimes that occur within common space mechanisms, a general overview of aerospace lubricants, coatings, testing levels, and a selection of case studies that have clear lessons embedded within.

Read more about the lecture below:

Although space-related technology might appear outlandish at first sight, ball bearings, gears, leadscrews, hinges, actuators, and many other ubiquitous mechanical components are crucial for the successful operation of all forms of space-faring equipment. Ensuring the lifetime and reliability of these systems poses a unique scientific and engineering challenge. The eventual inability to deploy solar panels, point or deploy antennas, stabilize the spacecraft or control its attitude, or premature failure of mission-specific onboard equipment can completely, or at least partially, negate a mission of immense cost. Tribological failures in these systems are not uncommon. Yet, commercial satellite launches still occur every year, and space agencies and the private sector are displaying growing coordination in targeting a sustained human presence on the moon and increasingly challenging missions within the next decade. Our reliance on these technologies for space exploration, communications, weather studies, and numerous other endeavors is implicitly a reliance on the tribological performance of these underlying mechanical systems.