History of Tribology in Finland 1881 – 2023 and the Finnish Society for Tribology 1977 - 2023


  • Kenneth Holmberg VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo
  • Helena Ronkainen VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo
  • Peter Andersson VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo
  • Janne Juoksukangas Tampere University, Tampere
  • Kati Valtonen Tampere University, Tampere
  • Arto Lehtovaara Tampere University, Tampere
  • Matti Säynätjoki Business Finland, Helsinki
  • Pekka Salonen Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki
  • Heikki Sundquist Sundcon Ltd, Helsinki


The field of Tribology defined as the “science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion, that is friction, lubrication and wear” was introduced to the scientific community in a UK governmental report 1966. UK experts and scientists introduced this new approach to solve industrial problems in engineering design, material technology and lubricant chemistry to Finnish colleagues in the late 1970s. The foundation of the Finnish Society for Tribology 1977 boosted academic and technological activities in the area. Tribology as a topic was introduced in the Finnish universities. Investments were made in collaborative research activities with universities, research centers and industry involved. The international collaboration expanded and the Finnish tribologists initiated and started the 1st NORDTRIB regional tribology conference series in Tampere 1984 and hosted the worldwide 5th EUROTRIB International Tribology Congress in Helsinki 1989. The Finnish Journal of Tribology was established 1982. Large joint research activities were generated especially with the Nordic and European countries, Soviet Union and China. Internationally recognized top research groups were initiated and flourished in Tampere and Helsinki on the topics of abrasive, slurry-erosion and fretting wear; engineering ceramics; thin coating tribology; biotribology; computational modelling in tribology; and calculations on global economic and environmental impact of tribology.

This article is modified from the report which the Finnish Society for Tribology contributed to the project “History of Science in Finland” by The Federation of the Finnish Learned Societies (Tieteellisten Seurain Valtuuskunta, TSV).

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How to Cite

Holmberg, K., Ronkainen, H., Andersson, P., Juoksukangas, J., Valtonen, K., Lehtovaara, A., Säynätjoki, M., Salonen, P., & Sundquist, H. (2023). History of Tribology in Finland 1881 – 2023 and the Finnish Society for Tribology 1977 - 2023. Tribologia - Finnish Journal of Tribology, 40(3), 4–38. https://doi.org/10.30678/fjt.141565