Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tribology of the Joints with Dr. Ian Clarke

In this episode, Dr. Ian Clarke, Co-Director of the DARF Center, discusses the wear involved with hip and knee joint replacements, and his current work conducting wear analysis of metal-on-metal ("MOM") bearing implants that have failed in patients. His goal is to determine why this small percentage of implants have failed. Despite some issues with these "MOM" bearings, Dr. Clarke argues that the vast majority of implants are successful and result in improved quality of life.

As he gets to see and test implants from ten to fifteen years ago, this gives him an insight into what implants were designed and created then, the materials and composition being used, what works and what does not work. He is also testing implants that may be used in the future to ensure they have the longest life span. To the right, you can see the machine used to conduct wear analysis of a potential hip implant.

Dr. Clarke's unique point of view provides the most benefit to all those involved in the design of joint replacement technology - most important of all, the patient.

Essentially, this technology is one that provides a way to improve a patient's life, and is being refined through these types of studies to ensure the replacement is a successful and beneficial one for the patient.

You can download the episode, read the transcript, or just click play on the slider bar above. You can read more about the tribology of joint replacements by reading this article, or you can visit our website for more news and information on biotribology. You can also attend the 2011 STLE Annual Meeting, which has a biotribology technical track.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Unveiling of the STLE University

STLE University will be released next Wednesday, November 17, 2010. Considering your interest in the STLE Compass, you may be interested in STLE University.

So, what is STLE University? STLE U is your personalized, centralized location for continuing education in the field of tribology and lubrication engineering. We provide you with the latest education and information in the field, while providing opportunities for you to enhance your career that do not interfere with your daily life. Our education opportunities include our traditional in-person education courses as well as our all-new online education courses.

STLE University is Education Your Way: Focused. Flexible. Accessible.
  • FOCUSED: We offer a variety of courses that are designed for differing audiences. The courses vary based on content and topical area, basic to advanced levels, and audience segment encompassing the wide array of industrial segments, ensuring there is something for everyone.
  • FLEXIBLE: Courses are both in-person and online and are designed to fit around your schedule. If you need a short, introductory course or an in-depth course, chances are STLE has something to fit your needs. The variety of courses matches up with your available time commitment.
  • ACCESSIBLE: Both online and in-person courses are formatted to ensure you can attend something we offer. Our in-person education course locations change yearly, and our online options allow you to purchase a course at any time and start it immediately. Also, everyone is welcome! You do not need to be a member to attend our courses, however, members enjoy a significant discount.

STLE University: for all the ways you learn. Visit our website for more information. Classes are available starting November 17!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nanotribology and MEMS: There's Still Plenty of Room at the Bottom with Dr. Michael Dugger

In this episode, we talk to Dr. Michael Dugger, Distinguished Technical Staff Member at Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Dugger discusses nanotribology and MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems). MEMS are small mechanical devices that are driven by, or have as their output, electrical signals.

According to Dr. Dugger, nanotribology is "the study of interactions of small collections of atoms involving relative motion between one group of atoms and another." Nanotribology is a key component of nanotechnology and its development. According to an article in TLT from January 2009, "a dozen nano products are commercially introduced each month-and lubrication issues are at the heart of nearly all of them." Lubrication at the nano scale is fundamentally different and requires a different approach because what works on the normal scale, may not work in an application at the nano scale.

Dr. Dugger is one of many working and researching in this area, attempting to discover what lubrication methods work best and how to apply this research to the use of MEMS. Here, you can see the scale of a typical friction device that is used at Sandia.

Click here to download the episode, listen to it in the slider bar above, or read the transcript. For more on Dr. Dugger, his research, and Sandia National Laboratories, read TLT's 20 Minutes article, or visit the STLE website. You can stay updated on recent innovations in nanotribology by attending the 2011 STLE Annual Meeting, which will have a nanotribology technical track.