Mechanical Engineering Grad Students Earn Research Honors

Mahyar Afshar-Mohajer and Adedoyin Abe were recognized for their research recently by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.
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Mahyar Afshar-Mohajer and Adedoyin Abe were recognized for their research recently by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.

Two mechanical engineering graduate students have received international recognition for their research into tribology and lubrication.

Tribology is the study of interacting moving surfaces.  

Adedoyin Abe and Mahyar Afshar-Mohajer earned awards for their poster presentations at the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Conference in Nashville in late May. Abe earned the conference's top poster award, a platinum award, and Afshar-Mohajer earned a silver award, the third-highest honor. Both are advised by Min Zou, professor and holder of a 21st Century Professorship in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The conference is considered the lubricant industry's "most respected venue for technical information, professional development and international networking opportunities," according to organizers.

Abe's research is focused on extending the life of PTFE coatings, commonly known as Teflon and a popular solid lubricant. She added silica nanoparticles to strongly adhere the coatings to the substrates. Using the particles, Abe has improved the wear life by 70 percent without significantly changing the final characteristics of the PFTE coating.

Abe said the conference was a chance to see a fuller picture of her research area.

"I enjoyed my experience learning more about the field at this conference and the chance to see a larger picture of the field, talk to industry professionals and other researchers," she said. "I'm excited to explore the different aspects of tribology and lubrication in the future. It was also a great experience practicing science communication and presentation skills to people with different levels of background knowledge."

Afshar-Mohajer's research uses 3D printing to print textured surfaces. Within the printed surfaces, there are tens of thousands of individually printed, 3D structures with features as small as a few hundreds of nanometers. The engineered textured surfaces have significantly enhanced tribological performance by reducing friction and providing superior durability. One of the potential applications of this research is the realization of micro/nano-scale (miniaturized) machines with moving components where high friction has been one of the barriers in their application.

Afshar-Mohajer said the conference prize was a motivator to press forward.

"Being recognized for our research by one of the largest professional societies in the field of tribology has been a great source of motivation to continue working on the cutting edge of tribology in spite of all the challenges," he said. "I am very thankful to my advisor and every single person in our research group who are providing a great atmosphere for research and personal development."

Zou praised Abe and Afshar-Mohajer's success.

"I congratulate Adedoyin and Mahyar on winning the poster awards at this premier international conference on tribology," she said. Including this year's winners, eight students from Zou's research group have earned awards for their posters at international conferences since 2013.

"This speaks to the quality of our students' research," she said. 


Nick DeMoss, director of communications
College of Engineering


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