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Friction and tribology

The research group Elastomer Friction and Contact Mechanics deals with dynamic friction contacts in technical components. Our focus is particularly on elastomer friction, as occurring in contacts between tire and road and in dynamic seal contacts. The work of our research group is based on experiments as well as on theory. In the experimental part, we carry out friction tests, for example on tire tread block samples and dynamic seals. They result in friction characteristics by variation of different input parameters, e.g. surface structure of rubber, ambient temperature or ground. Besides asphalt, concrete, glass and corundum, tests on snowy and icy grounds are also possible. To get an overview of the institute’s test equipment, download our poster (pdf - 3,4 MB). For new tasks and special experiments, we design and develop novel test methods. Our core competencies also include the design of test rigs.

In our theoretical research work, we analyse friction phenomena theoretically, ranging from simple physical models like the brush model to complex models using the finite element method. The developed friction models simulate the influence of the surface structure on the friction coefficient.

One of our great strengths is the combination of profound theory and application-oriented work, employed when dealing with the following research topics:

  • force transmission on snowy and icy grounds,
  • friction dynamics of tire tread blocks on asphalt and concrete,
  • thermography and high-speed analyses,
  • rolling trajectories in the laboratory,
  • modelling of friction mechanisms,
  • modelling of the contact between tire and road,
  •  influence of the surface structure on the friction behaviour in seal contacts,
  • stick-slip in seal contacts,
  • optimisation of friction in pneumatic cylinder seals,
  • optimisation of ear molds in hearing aid systems.


 Dr.-Ing. Matthias Wangenheim

Phone: +49(0)511/762-4166
Fax: +49(0)511/762-4164
E-mail: wangenheim@ids.uni-hannover.de