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Research Group: national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)

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The national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS) started as a successful bid to the Science and Innovation Awards 2007 (£9.7M initial funding). nCATS mission is to bridge the gap between fundamental research and industrial needs and to solve emerging engineering issues related to friction, wear and lubrication. nCATS provides highly individualized multidisciplinary training reflecting actual market needs, which, together with scientific excellence, will generate an open-mind generation of engineers able to harvest multidisciplinary knowledge and successfully face technological challenges of 21st century.

Group Overview

montage of nCATS images

Head of Group: Dr Tomas Polcar

Deputy Head of Group: Dr. Ling Wang

Tribology is the essential science of all interacting surfaces in relative motion. It is immensely important to the successful operation of engineered machines and natural mechanisms of all scales, and demands multifunctional surfaces. It is core to future transport and energy-efficient machines, the control of emissions and low-maintenance renewable energy systems, and to biotechnology.

nCATS is a multidisciplinary tribology centre. We aspire to research and solve next-generation tribological design issues and enable surface interactions to occur with minimal energy loss and impact on the environment. We link world-class research groups in key disciplines at the University of Southampton to develop enhanced capabilities in advanced computational and experimental tribology. We have also established strategic research partnerships with top groups worldwide.

We provide the next generation of underpinning technology in mechanical engineering, microsystems, and biomedical engineering by developing strategic research partnerships with industry. We increase the understanding of tribological processes at all scales and apply this to improve surface life.

Our research includes developing sensors and novel probes for tribological processes, the tribology of renewable energy systems, manipulating complex microbial communities at interfaces linked to tribological issues of fouling, friction and corrosion, and the use of advanced techniques to understand biotribological performance at the interface of artificial material and live tissue. We develop novel self-repairing, adaptive, regenerative multifunctional surfaces for smart applications.


Contact us

Engineering Sciences Unit

Engineering and the Environment
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
Southampton SO17 1BJ

Senior Administrative Officer: Sue Berger
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2871
Administrative Officer: Katherine Day
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2841
Administrative Officer: Fiona Haigh
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7082
Administrative Officer: Gwyneth Skiller
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 5568



nCATS has access to the surface engineering and tribology facilities for measurement and analysis at both the University of Southampton and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in the areas of:

Postgraduate opportunities

Postgraduate Taught

MSc Surface Engineering and Coatings (Advanced Mechanical Engineering Science)

Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Russ AlbertsVisiting Research Fellow
Miriam AndrewsPostgraduate research student
Jahnabi BasumataryPostgraduate research student
David BossensPostgraduate research student
Richard CookPost Doctoral Research Fellow
Ilaria CorniPost Doctoral Research Fellow
Simon DenningtonResearch Fellow
Kamran EsmaeiliPostgraduate Research Student
Liam R GoodesVisiting Research Fellow
Daniel GropperPostgraduate research student
Terry J HarveySenior Research Fellow
Stephen HerdPostgraduate research student
Walter Martin HolwegerRAEng Visiting Professor in Material Science, Tribology and Lubrication Chemistry
Eko IlmanPostgraduate research student
Timothy JA KampsPostgraduate research student
Pawee KucitaPostgraduate research student
Andreu LabordaPhD researcher of Engineering Materials group
Maria Fabiola Leyva-MendivilResearch Fellow
Georges LimbertAssociate Professor
Mengyan NieVisiting Research Fellow
Tomas PolcarProfessor of Materials Science and Tribology
Honor PowrieVisiting Professor
Monica RatoiLecturer in Lubrication Science
Alex D RichardsonPostgraduate research student
Maria SaltaVisiting Academic
Viktorija SmelovaPostgraduate research student
Keith StokesVisiting Professor
Martin StolzLecturer in Orthopaedic Tribology
Paul StoodleyProfessor of Microbial Tribology
Nicola SymondsOperations Director
Ling WangProfessor of Tribo-Sensing
Shuncai WangLecturer
Simon WatsonPhD Student
Julian WhartonAssociate Professor
Luis V Wilches PeñaPostgraduate research student
Robert J K WoodAssociate Dean of Research
Ikhwan Shafiq Zainal AbdinPostgraduate research student
Jurgita ZekonyteVisiting Academic

    Related Projects

    Related ProjectsStatusType
    Tribological behaviour of nano-structured alloys processed by Severe Plastic DeformationActive
    A study on White Etching Crack (WEC) root causes and its relation to material microstructures and surface treatments.Active
    Advanced nanostructured coatings for aluminium alloysActive
    Better methods to measure wear of hip implantsActive
    Co-Ni-P Electrodeposits for Hard Chrome ReplacementActive
    Corrosion Control for Naval ShipsActive
    Delivery of fluoride and antimicrobial agents into dental plaque biofilmsActive
    Designing biomaterials for tissue engineering and tissue regenerationActive
    Designing sensors to detect corrosion in hidden placesActive
    Effects of vitamin E and natural lubricants on wear and oxidation of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)Active
    Electron Beam Melting of Biomedical AlloysActive
    Green TribologyActive
    New generation of protective coatings alternative to hard chromeActive
    Health implications of metal ions and particulates released from hip implantsActive
    How to design better artificial knee jointsActive
    Impact and erosion resistant materialsActive
    Improved Testing Methodologies for Evaluating the Performance of Paint Systems and MaterialsActive
    Investigating rail axle bearing damageActive
    Lightweight ceramic nanotubes reinforced polymer composite coatings and nanofibres with improved impact resistance and responsive functionsActive
    Looking after our skinActive
    Luminescent Monitoring for Tribological CoatingsActive
    Metrology to assess the durability and function of engineered surfacesActive
    A study of Microstructure Alterations in White Structure Flaking Failures of Wind Turbine BearingsActive
    Modelling our tiny uninvited guestsActive
    Influence of ultimate strength on aged and corroded shipsActive
    Nanoadditives for lubrication of hydrogen technologyActive
    Nanoparticles characterization for nanotoxityActive
    Nanowear and Nanofretting of Biomedical MaterialsActive
    Particle analysisActive
    Polymer lubricationActive
    Prolonging the life of machine parts in nuclear applicationsActive
    Rare earth effect on tribological bronze coatingsActive
    Scuffing in piston assembly and liner of fired combustion enginesActive
    Simulating the friction encountered in oilfield operationsActive
    Simulation-based tailoring of nanoscale frictionActive
    Structured Surfaces for Tribological ApplicationsActive
    Structured Surfaces to Trap Bubbles and Reduce Drag and FrictionActive
    Suspension sprayed surface coatings for specialised applications Active
    The Adhesion Rail Riddle - Ensuring Trains Can BrakeActive
    The impact of Friction Modifiers on ZDDP engine oil tribofilmsActive
    The science and engineering of shape-shiftersActive
    Towards a mechanistic understanding of skin tears in the elderly populationActive
    Tribocorrosion of cemented tungsten carbide in oil and gas drilling environmentsActive
    Tribological behaviour of ultrafine-grained alloys formed by severe plastic deformationActive
    Understanding the physics of wet shavingActive
    Upgrade and validate simulatorActive
    Wear Assessment and Forensic Analysis of Failed Hip ReplacementsActive
    WS2 as lubricant nanoadditivesActive
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