Ultra-low friction technology is the key for energy efficiency, safety and security, not only in the automobile industry but all areas of industry and daily life. Realization of this technology is indispensable towards the achievement of a low-carbon emission society.

For instance, 20% of a total energy loss of vehicle is caused by friction within the engine and transmission, thus research of friction-reducing technology for improving fuel efficiency is a vital task. Actually, fuel efficiency has been improved up to 15% in the last two decades based on accumulated knowledge obtained through many improving processes.

In this project, practical low-friction technologies for materials and inter face design are developed in collaboration between Tohoku University and private industries by using Tohoku University's cutting-edge advanced science and technology on materials characterization of nano-interface and quantum chemistry simulation.

Research Overview

The development of friction-reducing technology has been conducted by private businesses, universities and research institutes in Japan and abroad. Given the dynamic, complex nature of friction in which many factors converge at the interface, it is difficult to fully understand the low-friction mechanisms, so as to draw precise conclusions.

This project aims to develop optimized interfaces on the basis of scientific understanding of nano-interfaces and materials for ultra-low friction. This goal will be achieved by fusion of mechanics, materials and simulation which all contribute to tribology.

This project studies: Oil lubrication, which reduces friction losses in engine components such as pistons; Water lubrication, which aims to obtain energy from heat; and Solid lubrication, which is expected to be applied to next-generation vacuum devices.


Tribological phenomena (friction/wear that occurs in various industrial products) are found in daily life.