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Friction, wear and lubrication

Our tribological solutions to increase material efficiency and wear control are based on nearly 40 years of experience in experimental tribology.

The tribology research group at VTT offers state-of-the-art solutions and knowledge in experimental tribology with the aim of increasing material and energy efficiency by reducing friction, controlling and minimizing wear. This is our way of reducing energy consumption, material waste and the environmental effects of industry, and contributing to sustainable development.

Controlled friction and wear provides improved performance and savings in energy and materials. The lifetime of equipment can be extended while eliminating unexpected damage and downtime. VTT solves friction and wear problems with the help of comprehensive tribo-analysis, experimental research and computer modelling.

Experimental tribology and triboanalysis

By controlling friction and wear, it is possible to improve the lifetime and productivity of machines and save energy and materials. Experimental tribology and comprehensive triboanalysis are utilized at VTT in order to solve tribological issues. In our research we can both test simple components and simulate complex real life situations in order to find novel solutions to our customers.

VTT participates extensively in global tribology research, as an example, we are taking part in the EU project i-TRIBOMAT.

Our core strengths are

  • friction and wear research
  • material behaviour
  • failure analysis
  • lubrication and machine components
  • tribocorrosion
  • rock tribology
  • vehicle tribology
  • experimental research in combination with modeling



We collaborate with our international network of universities and research institutes, as well as other research groups at VTT.

​More information coming

Influence of tribology on global energy consumption, costs and emissions
Kenneth Holmberg and Ali Erdemir
Friction. Springer. Vol. 5 (2017) No: 3, 263-284

Tribocorrosion study of martensitic and austenitic stainless steels in 0.01M NaCl solution
Elina Huttunen-Saarivirta, Lauri Kilpi, Timo J. Hakala, Leena Carpen, Helena Ronkainen. 2016
Tribology International, Vol. 95, 358-371   

Computational modelling based wear resistance analysis of thick composite coatings
Kenneth Holmberg, Anssi Laukkanen, Arash Ghabchi, M. Rombouts, Erja Turunen, Richard Waudby, Tomi Suhonen, K. Valtonen, E. Sarlin. 2014.
Tribology International, Vol. 72, pp. 13 - 30

Global energy consumption due to friction in trucks and buses
Kenneth Holmberg, Peter Andersson, Nils-Olof Nylund, Kari Mäkelä, A. Erdemir. 2014.
Tribology International, Vol. 78, pp. 94 - 114

Tribological properties of laser-textured and ta-C coated surfaces with burnished WS2 at elevated temperatures
J. Oksanen, Timo J. Hakala, S. Tervakangas, Petri Laakso, Lauri Kilpi, Helena Ronkainen, J. Koskinen. 2014.
Tribology International, Vol. 70, pp. 94 - 103

Wear resistance optimisation of composite coatings by computational microstructural modelling
Kenneth Holmberg, Anssi Laukkanen, Erja Turunen, Tarja Laitinen. 2014.
Surface and Coatings Technology, Vol. 247, No. May, pp. 1 - 13

Fibre Optic Sensors for Long-Term Monitoring of Oil Film Pressure in Diesel Engine Main Bearing
Markku Kapulainen, Helena Ronkainen, Ari Hokkanen, Ingmar Stuns, Simo Varjus, Sami Nyyssönen, Raimo Turunen, Jari Halme. 2014
Tribology Letters, Vol. 56,  No: 1 , 47 - 54

Finite element analysis of coating adhesion failure in pre-existing crack field

Kenneth Holmberg, Anssi Laukkanen, Helena Ronkainen, Kim Wallin. 2013.
Tribology - Materials, Surfaces and Interfaces, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 42 - 51

Global energy consumption due to friction in paper machines
Kenneth Holmberg, Roope Siilasto, Tarja Laitinen, Peter Andersson, Ari Jäsberg. 2013.
Tribology International, Vol. 62, pp. 58 - 77

Low-speed sliding tests with nodular cast iron in contact with steel wire and a diamond tip
Richard Waudby, Peter Andersson, Kenneth Holmberg. 2013.
Tribology International, Vol. 65, pp. 171 - 176

Adhesion performance and tribological properties of atomic layer deposited aluminum oxide films
Helena Ronkainen, Lauri Kilpi, Antti Vaajoki, Simo Varjus, Oili Ylivaara, Riikka Puurunen.12th International Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition, ALD 2012, 17 - 20 June 2012, Dresden, Germany
Technical Program & Abstracts, published abstract of a poster. American Vacuum Society (AVS)

Static-to-sliding friction measurements
Peter Andersson, Lauri Kilpi, Kenneth Holmberg, Helena Ronkainen. 2012.
15th Nordic Symposium on Tribology, NORDTRIB2012, 12 - 15 June 2012, Trondheim, Norway. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry (2012), 6 p.

Adhesion and tribological properties of hydrophobin proteins in aqueous lubrication on stainless steel surfaces

Timo J. Hakala, Päivi Laaksonen, V. Saikko, Tiina Ahlroos, Aino Helle, Riitta Mahlberg, H. Hähl, K. Jacobs, P. Kuosmanen, Markus B. Linder, Kenneth Holmberg. 2012.
RSC Advances, Vol. 2, No. 26, pp. 9867 - 9872

The effect of coating properties on the performance of a-C:H and ta-C films
Helena Ronkainen, Kenneth Holmberg, Anssi Laukkanen, Tom Andersson, M. Kano, T. Horiuchi, T. Suzuki. 2012
Tribologia, Vol. 31, No: 3 - 4, 3 - 10

Global energy consumption due to friction in passenger cars
Kenneth Holmberg, Peter Andersson, A. Erdemir. 2012.
Tribology International, Vol. 47, No. March, pp. 221-234

Coatings Tribology - Properties, Mechanisms, Techniques and Applications in Surface Engineering
Kenneth Holmberg, Allan Matthews. 2009.
Tribology and Interface Engineering Series: 56, Elsevier, 560 p. ISBN 978-0-444-52750-9

Tribological properties of hydrogenated and hydrogen-free diamond-likecarbon coatings
Helena Ronkainen. 2001
VTT Publications: 434
VTT Manufacturing Technology, Espoo, 2001. 52 p. + app. 91 p.