Tribology covers the science of interacting surfaces in relative motion, and advances made in the field have led to better lubricants and more reliable and efficient machinery. Dr Robert Ian Taylor has recently been honoured with the Tribology Silver Medal Award for his outstanding contributions to the field.
Dr Taylor graduated from Cambridge University in 1984 with a degree in Natural Sciences (Physics), before going on the complete a PhD at Durham University in Applied Physics and Electronics.
He began his industrial career working on models for low-noise transistors and semiconductor waveguides at Plessey Research, before moving to oil major Shell’s research arm. There, he began work on developing accurate models to predict tribological activity in vehicle power trains and other lubricated engine components.
Previously, the development of evermore-efficient mechanical systems and lubricants like gear oil had relied mostly on costly field tests and laboratory experiments. The software and models developed by Dr Taylor and his team helped drive improvements in the engines of passenger vehicles, as well as the niche field of Formula 1 racing.
Dr Taylor later joined the Lubrication Science Team at Shell as Technology Manager in 2006, before moving on to an equivalent post within Shell at the Lubricants Discovery Hub, which has been a driving force in improving Shell’s commercial lubricant range. He retired this year.
Familiar to many in the industry, Dr Taylor has published extensively in his field, acquired a number of patents, received industry awards and served on professional bodies.