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Presidents Message - September 2011

By Mike Dugger

A premier event

Top researcher from around the world gather next month for the International Joint Tribology Conference in Los Angeles.  

Southern California is known for prestigious universities, museums, art galleries, theaters, Mount Wilson observatory, Hollywood and balmy weather. It also contains the second-most populous city in the United States and its associated share of automobile traffic.

This fall celebrities of another sort will gather in Los Angeles and need not be concerned with the traffic. That is because the International Joint Tribology Conference (IJTC), co-sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and STLE, takes place Oct. 24-26 at the Marriott Los Angeles Downtown Hotel. Several hundred top researchers from around the world are gathering to share their latest results and network in a venue where all conference activities are within walking distance of the hotel.

The IJTC has a proud tradition of more than 50 years as one of the premier events in the tribology research community. That tradition continues this year with 13 technical tracks on such topics as engineered surfaces, fluid film lubrication, boundary lubrication, machine element tribology, contact mechanics and magnetic storage that have been part of this conference for many years. Recently added areas also are represented such as nanotribology and biotribology. These topics have garnered significant interest and attracted large audiences at the last several meetings.

In keeping with the goal to represent the most recent topics in tribology research, conference program chair Mike Lovell (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and conference chair Qian (Jane) Wang (Northwestern University) have arranged tracks on several new research fronts. Wind energy makes a repeat appearance in the track titled, “Wind Turbine Tribology.” This topic also is addressed during the conference keynote presentation, and we are fortunate to have Dr. Mike Robinson as our distinguished guest.  Dr. Robinson is deputy director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center and is delivering the keynote address: “Offshore Wind Technology Development.”

Several special symposia are on the conference agenda. The symposium on Biomimetics and Green Tribology augments the biotribology offerings and emphasizes presentations on mechanical interaction with various types of human tissue, bio-molecules and surface interactions, implants and bio-inspired tribology.

The symposium on Particle Tribology examines processes where interactions of particles and surfaces are important such as polishing, granular flows, wear and powder lubrication. A symposium on Science and Technology for Condition-Based Monitoring includes the latest approaches for analyzing lubrication systems and predicting required maintenance to minimize downtime and maintenance costs.

The special role young people play in the research community again is recognized with our student poster session. This competition, which STLE also conducts at its annual meeting, gets more popular with each event and is a great way to welcome the next generation of researchers into our community.

The IJTC is a truly international event. At the 2010 conference in San Francisco, at least half of the technical presentations were given by speakers from outside the U.S. The IJTC in Los Angeles promises similar representation from the research laboratories of top universities, industries and government laboratories from around the world.

Please visit www.stle.org for additional details, including links to register for the meeting and book your hotel. Register before the Sept. 26 Early Bird deadline and save $100 on conference-registration fees.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Mike Dugger is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. You can reach him at mtdugge@sandia.gov

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