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Curtin Tribology Professor awarded world’s highest honour

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Professor Gwidon Stachowiak of Curtin’s Department of Mechanical Engineering has been awarded the prestigious UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers Tribology Gold Medal, an internationally acclaimed tribology award.

Presented yesterday at Curtin University by the British High Commissioner to Australia, Her Excellency Menna Rawlings CMG, Professor Stachowiak is the first Australian to receive the annual accolade, and the first from the southern hemisphere in the award’s 43 year history.

The study of friction, wear and lubrication, tribology is the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion. It plays an important role in the development of technological advancements such as high-speed trains, aircraft, space stations, computer hard discs, artificial implants, and many other engineering and bio-medical systems.

Curtin Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Development Professor Graeme Wright said tribology was much older than human civilization, yet was considered by many as a science of the future.

“A successful tribological approach is critical to the economics and operational reliability of industrial manufacture and processing, and this fits with Curtin’s ongoing commitment to developing industry-focussed research capabilities,” Professor Wright said.

“Curtin University has a reputation for world-class research and Professor Stachowiak is a key contributor to this status.”

Professor Stachowiak’s current research interests are focused on the development of methods for the description of multiscale 3D surface topographies, optimization of 3D surface textures for hydrodynamic contacts, and prediction of osteoarthritis in knee and hand joints based on x-rays and tribocorrosion.

He said tribology was assisting in finding solutions to modern-day challenges such as sustainability, climate change and gradual degradation of the environment.

“This is a prestigious and important award to Curtin University as it endorses its position in the world forefront research in tribology,” Professor Stachowiak said.

British High Commissioner to Australia, Her Excellency Menna Rawlings CMG said she was delighted to present Professor Stachowiak with the 2014 Tribology Gold Medal on behalf of the Tribology Trust.

“This is the world’s highest honour in tribology and a tribute to Professor Stachowiak’s outstanding achievements in the field,” Her Excellency said.

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