Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Friction Science and Technology - From Concepts to Applications

In our latest episode, author Peter Blau discusses his book, Friction Science and Technology - From Concepts to Applications.

Peter goes over how the book came about, how it differs from other books on the subject, the topics included, the intended audience and its use - how to apply the concepts presented.

His thoughts on the future of the field: "I would hope that those who practice tribology will realize that it isn’t so much a single discipline as it is a set of multi-disciplinary problems that use whatever tools are appropriate in each case."

This quote makes sense, since the book itself is all about covering core concepts and applying those concepts to a variety of conditions.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two Perspectives on Attending #STLE2012

In a recent interview, we talked to two STLE members - one a student and the other a young professional about their past attendance at STLE Annual Meetings, and their advice for others looking to attend too.
Rachel Colbert, STLE Student Member
How did you first decide to attend the STLE Annual Meeting? I got involved in STLE initially through my advisor. He highly encouraged everyone working in the laboratory to attend STLE. The first meeting I attended I presented a poster, but since then have participated in both the podium and poster presentations.

What were your expectations prior to attending that first meeting? I was not sure what to expect for my first meeting other than being excited for the Berries and Cream Social.

What did you think of the poster competition? Are you presenting this year? I think that the student poster competition is a great way to start to get involved in the meeting. The years I have participated, I have found it to be a way to network with both professionals who were also interested in my research as well as the other student presenters around me. I have been able to make contacts and friends across the country and world. I also found that the poster presentations are a little more informal than the talks which has provided me a chance to have in depth conversations with people about my work which to some extent has helped shape my research and provided me with job/internship opportunities.

What did you think of the Student/Young Professional networking event? It was quite fun last year. There was not a huge turn out, but everyone who did attend had a great time. It's yet another way to network in the field but in a more informal setting.
STLE Note: This year's event promises to be even better! We will have key STLE members - including incoming President Jerry Byers, Young Tribologist Committee members, young professionals and students. It will be a great mix of people leading to great discussions and contacts you can utilize after the meeting. Click here for more details - it will happen on Tuesday, May 8, from 7:30-10:30 at Flamingo Bowl. Share this information with your colleagues and encourage them to attend (with an RSVP of course!).

Do you have any advice for those presenting this year? Practice, but don't memorize. Knowing the presentation in and out and presenting in front of my lab mates has helped get me ready for questions as well as know that when my nerves kick in I will still have a general idea of what I want to say.

What recommendations do you have for a first time attendee (things to do or see, people to meet, etc.)? Attend the welcome reception and any other social events, but when you do make sure to converse with people outside of your lab or normal social group. It's a great way to make professional contacts in the field. Also make sure to bring business cards. It's the easiest way to exchange information. When you receive someone's business card, write on the back how you met them and what you discussed so you will remember by the time you get back home. Try and plan out what talks you would like to attend in advance, but be flexible with your schedule. My last recommendation is when attending talks, attempt to come up with at least one thoughtful question to ask the presenter. Even if you are too nervous to ask during the session, you can ask them during the next break. This provides an ice breaker and a way to meet some of the top researchers in the field.

David Burris, STLE Member, University of Delaware
How did you first decide to attend the meeting? I had done undergraduate research and the work was accepted for a podium presentation.

What were your first impressions? I remember being impressed by the variety of research present at the annual meeting. The type of work that we were doing in the lab was only a very small fraction of the breadth of work by the community.

What was the top thing you took away from the meeting? As an undergraduate, the top thing to me was traveling (via van) from Florida to NYC. I had never been to NY and this was quite an experience for me. However, I remember being inspired and getting a lot of new ideas about the directions my research would take. Since this first meeting, the number one take away from this meeting is re-invigoration and inspiration for new studies.

What would you say to convince others to go? This is by far the best, most efficient way to learn about the current standing and future directions of tribology research. It is an essential yearly trip for the aspiring researcher.

Now that you’ve attended a few meetings, what makes you come back every year? Going to the annual meeting really helps me stay current, identify emerging trends, and choose my paths forward in different areas of research I am involved in.

How do you meet new people? What if you don't know anyone at the meeting? Asking someone a thoughtful question about their research presentation or abstract is an excellent way to break the ice of a cold introduction.

What are your recommendations for making the transition from student to young professional? Get involved. Participating in the business meetings for the technical tracks is a good starting point. You will naturally meet and work with professionals with common research interests. The progression from student to profession is a natural one for those who get involved.

If you are a student or young professional, be sure to check out all our resources for #STLE2012:

April Webinars: Engine Friction Reduction & Hydraulic Fluids and Systems

Looking for continuing education on engines or hydraulics? April is the month for you.

Tribological Perspective on Engine Friction Reduction
Instructor: Arup Gangopadhyay, Ford Motor Company
Date/Time: April 11, 2012, 12-1 p.m. CDT, with extended Q&A from 1-1:30 p.m.
Short Abstract: The webinar will focus on energy losses in a vehicle and in particular, the frictional losses from critical engine systems. The lubrication regimes of these systems will be reviewed and some of actions could be taken for friction reduction. Industry trends towards reducing engine friction will be reviewed.

Hydraulic Fluid Properties and Hydraulic Systems - A Vital Link
Instructor: Paul Michael, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Date/Time: April 18, 2012, 12-1 p.m. CDT, with extended Q&A from 1-1:30 p.m.
Short Abstract: This webinar will cover hydraulic pumps, motors, valves, cylinders and hoses. We will examine its function of each component, the different types of components, and getting optimal efficiency out of each part in the system, including how to choose the right fluid for the application. This discussion will also cover the concepts of volumetric efficiency, mechanical efficiency and fatigue life, and how to measure each.

While you're checking out the webinars, be sure to keep an eye on the month of May - we'll be broadcasting a panel discussion live from the #STLE2012 Annual Meeting focusing on Synthetics, with more details available soon including panelists and topical focus. Feel free to let me know what you'd like to hear about and we can include that in the discussion. Also, after the Annual Meeting, we'll be hosting an Idea Exchange - where you can share ideas and what you saw with colleagues, and get an idea of what others took away from the conference.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#STLE2012 Tips for First Timers

#STLE2012 kicks off in about six weeks, and I wanted to share some tips for first-time attendees.

  • Go with a purpose. Whether you want to meet new people and network, find a solution to a problem encountered at work, or glean best practices from your colleagues, have a goal in mind and try to achieve it every day.

  • Have a schedule, but be flexible. Draft a game plan for the week on the drive or plane ride, using the preliminary program guide as a reference. If you're traveling with a group or have a group of similarly minded individuals, divide up your time accordingly so you can see the most and share/compare notes after the session or when you get back to the office. If you find a given session isn't what you thought it'd be, make sure to have a second option. Don't be afraid to "vote with your feet." We know you want to get something out of every session - that's what we want too! Finally, don't overschedule yourself. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of technical sessions (over 350!) and other events, but realize that you won't be able to attend everything you want.

  • Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Don't just stick with your co-workers (they can be your crutch to avoid meeting new people or trying new things). You'll get more out of the conference if you branch out and talk to someone else who has the same job or research interests as you do. And if you're coming to the meeting on your own, don't be afraid to approach people: (a) there are other people like you there (other first-timers), just find them and you can join forces, (b) everyone is friendly and will be open and accepting, and (c) you will find people who share your interests just by attending technical sessions - after all, you're both there because you have the same interests, so all you have to do is strike up a conversation.

  • Step outside of your box: sit at a table of people you don't know at the President's lunch, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you at a technical session, tag along with a group you've just met to different events, and reach out. The more you try, the more likely you are to make some contacts and get the most out of the AM. You should also try attending a session outside of your research interests or job function. Getting a broad knowledge of the industry may lead to an innovation or idea you wouldn't have had otherwise, or a connection that may lead to a job or new colleague.

  • Contribute to the discussion for #STLE2012. If you're in an interesting session, let other's know about it.

  • Follow the back channel (#STLE2012) - it will help you keep up on what's going on, both the published stuff and the unpublished/spontaneous stuff.

  • Come to the YP/Student Networking event on Tuesday night May 8, 7:30 p.m. at the Flamingo Bowl. Come for some hors d'oeuvres, drinks and networking with young professionals, as well as key STLE members, so you can make some great career connections. Details will be on the AM webpage and will be included in AM emails, but make sure you RSVP so we have enough food to go around.

  • If you're participating in the student poster competition, be sure to visit the website (scroll down to the student/YP section) for updates, and keep an eye out for the email with instructions you'll need to get your bearings for the day. If you haven't gotten instructions yet, let us know.

  • Also, as a take-away, remember that we will have a CD of proceedings available for free to all meeting attendees. The CD includes a listing of the papers we received by the publication date, so not all papers may be listed in the CD, and others will have an extended abstract. It's something to take with you and share with colleagues after the event.

  • Visit the exhibit floor. Here, you can meet potential employers if you're starting your job search, or you can make contacts to help you with your job, find solutions to common problems, and find out about the newest products on the market. Click here to see a list of exhibitors, so you can plan out your attack plan for the exhibit floor.

  • Bring a ton of business cards - you will go through them, either on the exhibit floor, or just through the new contacts you make. If you don't have business cards, have something you can hand out with your contact information. Websites like VistaPrint have an option where you can get 250 cards for $10.

  • Come to the Membership Booth and we will point you in the direction of someone you can network or talk shop with, or we will be able to point you in the direction of members who can provide introductions to specific technical groups and/or key contacts. Staff and volunteers will be staffing the booth, so you can meet us and pick our brains, or even offer up ideas on membership and offerings. Also, we'll have some great give-aways as an extra incentive to come see us! We get lonely, so be sure to come say hi.

  • Get some rest - you'll need it, with a week jam-packed with events!

  • Bring snacks. Just in case your stomach decides to rumble in the middle of a session and lunch is hours away.

  • Plan out the social side of things (and how to get there). See what you can do while you're in St. Louis with some of these great links: Explore Neighborhoods (we'll be in Downtown, but you can go beyond, especially if you're driving to STL); 25 Things to Do; Day Trips/Excursions; sample Itineraries, and How to Get Around STL. Listen to this podcast (coming soon) with Karl Phipps, STLE staffer and STL native.

  • Remember to have fun - this is a great opportunity for you to meet with like-minded individuals, probably the only time throughout the year you are in the same room with so many folks in tribology and lubrication engineering (around 1,100)!

Some other resources, if you're interested, include Bob Gresham's webinar presentation on getting the most out of your attendance at #STLE2012 (click here to register), and the TLT articles: A Business Case for Attending the AM and Tribology's Big Show. You can also read the interviews we conducted with two STLE members for their perspective on attending the meeting for the first time: Rachel Colbert, student member, and David Burris, young professional and Chair of the Young Tribologists Committee. Finally, keep an eye out for the post on things to do in St. Louis. It includes some tips from STLE Staffer Karl Phipps - he'll be able to give you the best tips since he grew up there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Metallurgy Concepts Impact You & Your Business

Recently, STLE interviewed Mike Pfeifer, the instructor for the upcoming course - Principles of Metallurgy, which will take place at the 2012 STLE Annual Meeting. Listen to our interview, and you'll get an overview of the course, concepts covered, and a tip from Mike on dealing with suppliers.

This course is meant for anyone who deals with metals - either on the processing side or on the procurement side. It's even recommended for those who work with lubricants and components - so that you have a better understanding of what's going on at the interface and why metals behave the way they do, allowing you to do your job more efficiently and with a better knowledge base.

After reviewing the course material, Robert Gresham, STLE’s Director of Professional Development indicated that this was a course he wished he had when he was starting out in the industry. From his perspective as a chemist/formulator, Bob said he would’ve liked having a basic understanding of metallurgy and foundational concepts, since this would have helped him immensely in his job function. The course information would have prepared him and made it easier to understand more of what was going on in customer’s plant and helped him troubleshoot problems he encountered there. In addition, he could have used the information when he was working with design engineers to help design and build new equipment, where he was working to supply the proper lubricant system. If you have a better knowledge base of the surface you’re lubricating, you can ensure that you are providing the correct lubricant for the application. In addition, after reviewing the slides, the course appears to be very straightforward and practical – making this course ideal for obtaining concepts that you can listen and learn and take back to your work and apply immediately.

As an example of why you might need to know metallurgical concepts – there is a topic we’re hearing a lot about lately: micro-cracking found in wind turbines. Micro-cracking is a metallurgical concept, and one that can be better addressed when one has knowledge of metallurgy and the surfaces that are being impacted. So, this course's audience includes those involved in failure analysis (connect the dots from the lubricant to the substrate) as well as those who design machines (as a good review).

Join us on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 for the course, which will take place at the 2012 Annual Meeting (#STLE2012).

[Click here] to get all the course details
[Click here] to register for the AM, the course, or both

Weekly Technical Feature - March has a MWF Focus

Starting this month, STLE will feature a topical list of resources, with each week focusing on a different aspect of that topic.

In the month of March, the focus is metalworking fluids, with resources and links on topics ranging from microbiology, additives, health, safety and misting, as well as MWF management, condition monitoring and recycling/waste treatment. Bear in mind that each week has a particular focus, but may include items not related to the topic - for instance, if there's an upcoming deadline or event.

If you're interested, you can visit the page to view all listings. You can also check out the March issue of Tribology and Lubrication Technology, which also has a MWF focus.

If you're not familiar with metalworking fluids, start with this article: Basics of MWFs.

March 5: Microbiology
March 12: Additives
March 19: Health & Safety
March 26: Management

If you find something of interest, post it in a comment and I'll be sure to add it. Also, if you find something listed that doesn't belong to that topic, or would be better suited in a different category, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Antonis Vakis, Harman Khare discuss their experience at the 2011 IJTC

This week, we feature two interviews with Student Poster Competition winners from the 2011 International Joint Tribology Conference.

In this first interview, we talk to Antonis Vakis (at right), who was one of three students to place in the competition (alongside Harman Khare and Justin Ye). In the interview, Antonis talks about his experience, what it's like to present, and encourages all students to get involved in conferences and technical societies like STLE.

Be sure to check out the March issue of TLT, where Antonis' extended abstract was published. Harman's will be published in April and Justin's will be published later on in the summer.

In the second interview, we hear from Harman Khare (at right), who was also one of the winners from the Student Poster Competition. Harman discusses his experience from the conference and competition, the steps leading up to presenting, and the number one benefit he sees from participation: the opportunity to present in front of peers and get feedback on research. According to Harman, conferences like the IJTC are "idea factories" which assist you in your own research.

To get the full experience, you can watch both presentations:
Antonis Vakis: 3-DOF Model of Magnetic Storage Head Disk Interface for Use with Adhesive Contact Model with Friction
Harman Khare: Characterization of Nanoscale Surface Films in Solid Lubricants

The student poster competition is held each year at both STLE conferences - the IJTC and the STLE Annual Meeting. Click here to see photos from the IJTC - and feel free to keep submitting your own photos, and use this as a way to find photos of yourself and your colleagues. You can also see a full list of the Poster Competition participants and winners on the Award Winners page. For details on this year's Annual Meeting Student Poster Competition, visit the event page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Webinars: Diesel Engine Oil, Food Grade Lubricants and Regulations

Join us this for this month's webinars featuring diesel engine oils, and food grade lubricant regulations. [Click here] to see the ad that appeared in TLT, or see below for details on each event.

Heavy Duty Diesel Engine Oil - Emission Strategies and Their Effects on Engine Oil

Presenter: Lawrence Ludwig, Chief Chemist/Technical Director, Schaeffer Manufacturing Co.
Short Abstract: This webinar will discuss the emission strategies that have been used by heavy-duty diesel Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), their effect on heavy-duty diesel engine oils and some of the current issues and challenges that are presently being seen and may be seen in the future to meet proposed GHG and fuel economy standards. [Click here] to read more.
Note: The webinar will take some pages from and provide updates on Larry's chapter in the book, Critical Component Wear in Heavy Duty Engines.

Food Grade Lubricants & Their Regulation
Presenter: Jessica Evans, Business Unit Manager - Nonfood Compounds, NSF International
Short Abstract: Participate in this webinar to find out how these new regulations in the food industry directly impact your business. We will be discussing the basic outline of the Food Modernization Act and specifically what you can to be more prepared when considering use of grease and lubricant products in the food safety industry. [Click here] to read more.
Note: This is the last event in the Food Grade Lubrication Series. See below for links to the previous two events, and to get more information.
Food Grade Lubrication Series: this series is available as a discounted package, or you can purchase individual recordings.