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Book by SOE Faculty Tackles Major Engineering Problems

Thirteen years of Dr. Wassim Habchi’s research go into his new book.

By Alyce Abi Shdid

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Dr. Habchi’s book has helped transfer new technological understanding from LAU’s research labs to the manufacturing floors of heavy industries.

Within the world of engineering, a micrometer makes all the difference. Studying the implications of surface protection and frictional energy losses in lubricated machine elements is an intense process, one made easier with a new book by a faculty member at LAU’s School of Engineering.

Associate Professor Dr. Wassim Habchi is the author of Finite Element Modeling of Elastohydrodynamic Lubrication Problems. The book, published by Wiley and released earlier this year, is a compilation of years of Habchi’s research revolving around computer simulations of lubrication phenomena within moving parts.

Most machinery, from small machines used in daily life to large industrial equipment, involves moving elements such as gears, bearings and other rotating parts. Problems can occur as friction develops between these moving parts and surfaces. This is where Habchi’s research comes in: “If we can understand the lubrication of working parts, we can increase the working life of these components, especially in an environment where these parts are expected to function under harsher conditions,” Habchi explains.

The book is a culmination of more than 13 years of research, devoted to simulating what is happening within these working parts, down to the micrometer level. By using finite element modeling to simulate the lubricated contact between the surfaces of the moving parts, Habchi was able to study these contacts and improve their lubrication performance, thus increasing the efficiency of their corresponding parts.

Although the book is theoretical in nature, the findings have meaningful applications for any industry that uses machinery. By understanding the lubrication of mechanical elements, both the useful life and efficiency of the parts are enhanced, as well as safety in the use of the machinery itself.

For instance, through his research, Habchi discovered that using a surface coating on elements can reduce internal component friction and power losses by as much as 50 percent. “For example,” he explains, “on average, a car experiences about 40 percent of its losses due to friction. So, based on thermal properties of the coatings applied to the parts, those losses can be reduced.”

Most of Habchi’s research is focused in this direction, and major companies are taking notice. Manufacturers have already invited him to give seminars on his research, and many are using the methodologies and software developed in his book to study the performance of working parts and optimize their efficiency.

The book is expected to serve as a resource for graduate students, faculty and researchers, and includes a downloadable software tool that allows for practical application of Habchi’s theoretical findings.

Habchi’s work has thus helped transfer new technological understanding from LAU’s research labs to the manufacturing floors of heavy industries.

 

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