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Presidents Message December 2009

David K. Scheetz

A meeting of minds

Cutting-edge research, peer networking and student involvement made the 2009 International Joint Tribology Conference another winner.

I’ve always said you can divide STLE’s membership into two broad categories: (1.) those involved with the manufacture, marketing and application of lubricants and (2.) the academics and researchers more concerned with the science of tribology. Since I’m in the former category, it wasn’t until I became a member of STLE’s Executive Committee that I really took notice of one of our society’s most important services—the International Joint Tribology Conference.

This event, co-sponsored each year by STLE and ASME, is a dream come true for those involved in tribology research. The 2009 IJTC, chaired by Dr. Andreas Polycarpou and held in Memphis, Tenn., in mid-October, lived up to the conference’s grand 50-year tradition. Some 200 people came to present research and learn from the work of their colleagues in the scientific community.

More than a dozen students displayed posters of their research, and I found their work to be nothing less than phenomenal. It was inspiring to hear these engaging and involved young people discuss their work. A key STLE objective is reaching students to inform them of the wonderful careers awaiting them in our industry, regardless of whether they are interested in applications work or research. Throughout the year, TLT will publish short abstracts of student posters presented at the IJTC and the annual meeting, and I encourage you to give this work your attention. These are the people who will be leading STLE in the future.

Both STLE and ASME used the IJTC as an opportunity to present awards to those individuals who have made distinguished contributions in the area of tribology research.  STLE presented the Captain Alfred E. Hunt Award, given to the author of the best paper published during the preceding year in a society publication. This year’s co-author recipients were Drs. Robert Jackson of Auburn University and Itzhak Green of the Georgia Institute of Technology, for their paper, “The Thermoelastic Behavior of Thrust Washer Bearings Considering Mixed Lubrication, Asperity Contact and Thermoviscous Effects.”

We also used the IJTC to formally introduce Dr. Farshid Sadeghi, the new editor-in-chief of Tribology Transactions, STLE’s peer reviewed research journal. Farshid already is hard at work and has plans to increase Transaction’s visibility, publish more invited papers and shorten the length of time it takes a paper to go from submission to publication. These changes will go a long way toward increasing the journal’s value for STLE members.

I’d also like to thank Andy Jackson, who retired as the journal’s editor after nearly a decade of outstanding service. Andy left some rather large shoes to fill, but I am confident that our journal is in good hands.

The 2010 IJTC is Oct. 18-20 in one of the greatest cities in the United States—San Francisco, Calif. Dr. Kathryn Wahl from the Naval Research Laboratory will chair the event and is interested in suggestions for new research tracks. Please e-mail her your best thoughts at kathryn.wahl@nrl.navy.mil.

If your job involves tribology research, and you have never attended the IJTC, I strongly encourage you to participate in next year’s event. You’ll learn from our industry’s best and brightest minds and have an unparalleled opportunity to network with your peers in the research community.  It’s an investment that will reap great rewards for your career.

Dave Scheetz, CLS, is an equipment builder engineer for ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties. You can reach him at david.k.scheetz@exxonmobil.com

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