Space Tribology Handbook

The need for a reference handbook on space tribology has been recognised for some time. Based principally (though not exclusively) on the experience of ESTL in this field over the past 35 years, the Handbook has been written with the aims of assisting designers and engineers in the implementation of sound tribological practices and to help them determine how best to treat and lubricate components for their given application.

Additionally, the Handbook offers guidance on the ground testing of tribo-components either in isolation or as part of their parent mechanisms.

The specific aims of the Handbook are:

  • to provide a definitive reference manual on space tribology
  • to provide useful data on typical systems where tribology is important either to performance or reliability
  • to specify guidelines for the selection, use and limitations of tribo-materials (encompassing lubricants, surface treatments and substrate materials)
  • to aid the designer in the selection of tribo-components
  • to provide guidance on the ground testing of tribo-components and mechanisms


Basic Tribology: Topics include surfaces and interfaces; friction and wear mechanisms; principles of fluid and solid lubrication; space and spacecraft environment.

Tribo-component Selection, Design and Performance: Topics include rotary, rolling element bearings; plain, spherical and rod-end bearings; ball, roller and plain screws; linear bearings; gears; sliding electrical contacts, separation surfaces; end-stops; threaded fasteners; safety factors.

Selection of Lubricant Type: Topics include a guide to selection: dry versus fluid lubrication; enhancing lubricant performance.

Solid Lubricants: Topics includea  selection of solid lubricant; solid lubricant coatings; bulk solid lubricants.

Fluid Lubricants: Topics include a selection of fluid lubricant; fluid lubricant database; tribological properties of fluid lubricants; fluid loss, retention and replenishment; handling, cleaning and lubrication procedure.

Materials for Tribological Components and Surfaces: Topics include properties of materials; engineering the surface; materials selection for tribo-components.

Component and Mechanism Testing: Topics include test level hierarchy; test environments; test facilities; guidance and component testing; guidance on mechanism testing; verification requirements.

To order your copy of the Space Tribology Handbook, please contact Simon Griffin, ESTL Manager: