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South African Institute for Tribology
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‘Materials DO Matter’ - Seminar Synopsis

It’s too easy to fall into a perception trap that managing friction demands only lubrication. Materials DO Matter.

34 delegates attended a SAIT afternoon seminar on Wednesday 6 February 2019 where six informative presentations looked far beyond surfaces separated by lubrication.

David Beard and Dave Gamble demonstrated that the mining industry have a massive demand for differing types of materials where friction is an absolute necessity from milling and crushing ores right down to drilling tool efficiencies.

David Beard
David Beard
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Dave Gamble

Dominic Smit of Isowall SA presented very detailed research conducted with Wits University into the ‘Simulation of abrasive particle collision during submerged polishing of CVD coated hard-metal turning inserts.’



Dominic Smit

Friction causes wear and controlling wear is subject to the choice and positioning of material in contact with abrasion – Materials DO Matter!


Dr Amanda Jonker

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Material Hardness:

  • Piece of Chalk 1
  • Plaster of Paris 2
  • Fingernail 2.5
  • Gold 2.5-3.0
  • Penny 3.5
  • Iron Nail 4
  • Window Glass 5.5
  • Steel Nail 6.5
  • Ceramic Tile 7
  • Aluminium Oxide 9
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Dr Amanda Jonker, Senior Ceramist from Multotec, ably demonstrated it was not only the choice of Al2O3 alumina ceramic material that was critical, but how customised applications could position ceramic surfaces to reduce friction wear rates in specific applications. Who would think of aluminium as a top constituent of hardness?


Thuli Mkhaliphi



Thuli Mkhaliphi of Wits University showed that tribology was present and significant in the 1st Industrial Revolution and is with us now, even in the digital age of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
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Patrick Swan


Patrick Swan
investigated research conducted globally about wind-turbine bearing failure – a subject that has not reached conclusion. The growth of wind power makes this an issue for urgent resolution on a global scale. Tribologists of the world – arise!

Customising a solution-driven, integrated approach to friction is the way forward: Materials play a significant role – and DO Matter.

National Standards

Hi All,

Are minimum national standards required in South Africa? If so how should this be monitored?

Substandard products or "old" technology is costing the economy big in terms of productivity and machine availability, also termed "total cost of ownership". Is this an issue to be internationally competitive?



National Standards

Please all take note that new draft standard are out for public comment - it is considered that it is essential that we have standards that can be used in South Africa. Please comment on the standards

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South African Institute of Tribology

Understanding lubrication, friction and wear


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