Early wear detection and its significance for condition monitoring

Ping Lu, Honor E Powrie, Robert JK Wood, Terry J Harvey, Nicholas R Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes the concept of how machinery condition monitoring can be taken to the next level, through micro-sensing of tribological phenomena occurring between contacting surfaces. By considering wear transitions and wear rates it is possible to distinguish between benign and potentially harmful wear scenarios. By measuring the tribological phenomena associated with these conditions, it should then be possible to determine with greater accuracy the health of a machine at any point in its life. For this approach to succeed, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive and holistic monitoring strategy and target sensing technologies for the key wear factors. The paper has two main sections. Firstly, tribological phenomena and the onset of wear which sets out why and what needs to be monitored. The factors influencing the wear process are grouped into three key areas: lubricant condition, tribo-pair condition and operating condition. Through a critical and comprehensive review of developing and state-of the-art tribo-sensing, the second section identifies the potential technologies for monitoring or measuring the physical parameters within these three groupings and thus sets out how the next generation of machine condition monitoring will need to evolve in order to achieve early wear detection and the related benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106946
Number of pages10
JournalTribology International
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Early wear detection
  • Machine condition monitoring
  • Tribo-pairs
  • Tribological phenomena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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