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What do you need to know?

What is tribology?

Tribology is the science of interactive surfaces in relative motion. It incorporates various scientific and technological disciplines such as surface chemistry, fluid mechanics, materials, lubricants, contact mechanics, bearings, and lubrication systems. It is customarily divided into three branches: friction, lubrication, and wear.

Conventionally, tribology is a science primarily related to engineering where elements such as bearing friction and machinery lubrication are examined.

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How do I apply?

1. Make sure you are eligible

All teams can apply for this award, application is by self nomination. Participating teams may compete in a maximum of two off-track awards of your choice (choose from Pennzoil Tribology Award, Communication Award, Vehicle Design Award and Technical Innovation Award); and the Safety Award. Please note that, a successful run on the track is required to be eligible for the off-track awards.


2. Download the application toolkit

This document will give you detailed information on the criteria, application process and the field of Tribology. Read through this carefully before you make your submission.

The required criteria are:

  • Quantifying the impact of lubrication on vehicle performance
  • Consideration of lubricant selection and design
  • Maximising fuel economy credit for all potentially lubricated components

The bonus criteria are:

  • Modification of engineering designs as result of understanding Tribological impacts
  • Application of computer modelling and/or calculations to determine engine/vehicle friction
  • Demonstration of understanding of concept design limits
  • Consideration of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) implications of lubricant choice

3. Write the report

Based on the details available in the application toolkit, write a report on how you have made use of Tribological concepts in your car design. The report should be no more than 1,500 words and should demonstrate which actions, experiments or simulations were performed. Include diagrams and data tables where appropriate.


4. Submit your application

Once you are happy with the report you have written, upload it through the Shell registration website in PDF format. If you have any trouble doing this, please contact us at ecomarathonamericas@shell.com. Remember, send in your entries before April, 10 2014.


5. Be prepared at the event

The judges will shortlist the entries submitted and select the finalists who will be interviewed at the Shell Eco-marathon event. Be prepared to have one person in your team speak to the jury about your report findings. The judges may have questions and will be keen to see Tribology in action. So get those creative juices flowing and become a strong contender to win this exciting award!


If you have any questions, please post them on the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Facebook page or email us at ecomarathonamericas@shell.com.

Tribology Week

To inspire you to think about lubrication engineering principles when improving the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, we will host a Tribology Week from 17-20 March, 2014. We will be sharing some exciting cases from Shell and tips and tricks to help you win on track!

Visit the Tribology Week site to get more interesting ideas about the role of lubricants in the fuel efficiency challenge!