Shell holds Tribology clinic

Thirty students put aside their wrenches and car parts for a while on Friday, April 5 at George R. Brown Convention Center to learn about Tribology—the science of friction—in a unique and creative way.

Led by Dr. Allie Falender, Shell innovation technology manager and Dr. Wei Yuan, Shell lubricants engineer, this interactive program offered students the opportunity to participate in lively break-out discussions covering the challenges and solutions of using Tribology in an SEM setting.

Coming from the idea of “speed dating,” participants moved from table to table with timed segments. After the breakout session was completed, discussions were successively reported out to the full group until the best idea or solution was declared the winner by all attendees.

The winning idea was from Adam Fink from St. Paul’s School in Louisiana and Jonathan Acsenault from the University of Moncton: Designing an electromagnetic bearing combined with a compressed liquid containing microscopic pieces of metal to fill in the microscopic abnormalities in the bearing. The compressed liquid would act as a lubricating agent in the bearing.

University of Illinois student Reid Bruggeman and Denton High School student Denver Houghton came up with an innovative idea that garnered him the runner up honor: Utilization of diamond-like surface coatings to reduce wear.

The winners received the opportunity to interview for an internship with Shell Oil plus $200 fuel cards, and runner-ups received $200 fuel cards.

Speed Matching, which was originally developed by Shell GameChanger, is often used by Shell to stimulate innovative thinking and technical collaboration at organizations such as NASA – responsible for the United States civilian space program, aeronautics and aerospace research – and Eli Lilly, the 10th largest pharmaceutical company in the world. A link to SEM Americas photos, including those taken at the Tribology event, is here: