What is FANAS?

Everyday operations on a broad range of scales, from nanometer and up, depend upon the smooth and satisfactory functioning of countless tribological systems. Friction is intimately related to both adhesion and wear, and all three require an understanding of highly non-equilibrium processes occurring at the molecular level to determine what happens at the macroscopic level. The science and technology of friction, lubrication and wear is called tribology, from the Greek ‘tribo’ meaning ‘rubbing’.

The fast development, over last decades, of micro- and nano-mechanics brought up the need for a more basic understanding of the origins and behavior of friction. Standard lubrication techniques used for large objects are expected to be less effective or even not applicable in the nano-world. Novel methods for control of friction and manipulation of nanoscale objects are therefore needed. A better understanding of triboprocesses has also a major impact for the protection of the environment (reduction of lubricant and of energy consumption).

Development of the field nanotribology has attracted physicists and chemists who are able to contribute significantly to the fundamental understanding of friction, adhesion and wear processes on an atomic scale. Collaborative efforts in the field of nanomechanics have been successfully started five years ago within the ESF network “NANOTRIBO” which will end in 2007. This initiative led to a formation of European scientific community of nanotribology where both experimentalists and theoreticians work together on a topic of fundamental scientific interest with considerable technological impact. Only such synergism can contribute significantly to the deeper understanding of friction and adhesion and to the possibility of modifying and controlling tribological properties of materials.  

Why a EUROCORES Programme on FANAS?

The aim of this EUROCORES programme on FANAS is to get a better insight on the origins of friction and adhesion and to learn how to control them. In particular: understanging relationships between adhesion and friction at the nano- and microscales and mechanisms of energy dissipation in tribological systems,  bridging the gap between the nano,  micro and macro scales in friction, lubrication and adhesion, control and modification of  frictional properties, nanomanipulations at interfaces, studies of biomimetic tribological systems and tribochemistry. 

To meet such goals, FANAS must bring together theoretical and experimental tools, as well as, engineering approaches which help transfer the basic understanding gained to questions of practical relevance. For this type of research a strong interdisciplinary collaboration is required that covers physical, chemical and material science aspects of tribology over a broad range of time and length scales. 

nanotribology; friction; adhesion; lubrication; wear; dissipation; nanomanipulation; nanoparticles