Professor Ian Sherrington

Prof. Ian Sherrington

Director of the Jost Institute for Tribotechnology

School of Engineering

Computing and Technology Building, CM110

+44 (0) 1772 89 3322

Subject Areas: Tribotechnology, instrumentation for the measurement and characterisation of surface micro-topography, friction measurement, wear sensing, lubricant film thickness measurement and lubrication control in a range of applications

Prof Sherrington’s research focuses on the ground breaking topic of “tribotronics”, the development of autonomous, self-adjusting components for mechanical equipment. He is currently Research Lead and REF co-ordinator for the School of Engineering and serves as Executive Director for the International Tribology Council (ITC).


Full Profile

Prof Sherrington’s is an acknowledged leader in the measurement/prediction of friction, wear and lubricating film thickness in machine components. His current research focuses on the development of active machine elements, a subject called “tribotronics”. Traditionally, mechanical elements such as bearings, seals & gears, are passive.  Tribotronics is a novel concept where sensors and actuators are employed in components or systems to dynamically modify the performance of machine elements whilst they are in operation.  The use of tribotronics turns a component into an intelligent device that monitors and controls itself to enhance its own health/life and performance.  Such devices also have the potential to feedback information about their operating duty, performance and state of wear by various means.  This leads to opportunities to control and manage these components and systems via the “internet of things”.  This can be for either maintenance purposes, for machine learning reasons (to enhance the performance of other devices in a connected system) or for other aspects of performance enhancement.

Prof Sherrington has been PI/Co-I for over 80 projects and authored/co-authored around 200 publications/patents. He has led and supported organising committees for a number of international events, served to assess grants/projects in the UK and overseas, acted an examiner for doctorate candidates and is an experienced Editor/Board Member for international journals and conference proceedings. Prof Sherrington was selected, along with nine other tribologists from across the world, to be presented to HRH Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace as part of the 50th Anniversary of Tribology in 2016. He also became the world’s first Professor of Tribotronics at KTH, Stockholm in 2018 and was a winner of the prestigious Donald Julius Groen Prize.


  • BSc (Hons) Physics, University of Liverpool, 1979
  • PhD Engineering, Lancashire Polytechnic, 1985


Sherrington, I., Smith, E. H., Sinzara, W., Brooks., H., Onsy, A. “Approaches to the algorithmic control of tribotronic lip seals”. Proc NORDTRIB 2018. (Uppsala, Sweden) 18 - 21 June 2018.

Sherrington, I., Smith, E. H. “Algorithmic Control of Lubrication in Tribotronic Systems” Proc of LUBMAT 2018 (5t– 6 June 2018, San Sebastian, Spain).

Garcia_Atance Fatjo, G., Smith, E. H., Sherrington, I. "Piston-ring film thickness: theory and experiment compared" Journal of Engineering Tribology. 232 (2017) pp 550 – 567. DOI: 10.1177/1350650117722257

Sherrington, I., Sinzara, W., Brooks, H., Onsy, A., Smith, E. H. “Towards the Development of Tribotronic Sealing Technology”. Invited presentation: World Tribology Congress, WTC VI. (Beijing, China. September 2017)

Sherrington, I. “Tribotronics –Part of a pathway to sustainable engineering?” Invited presentation. Ecotrib June, 2017 (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

More publications

Further Publications


Sherrington, I. “Corrosion control system and method”. GB 225587 July 2015.


Sherrington, I., Onsy, A., Rao, R., Brooks, H., Philip, J. (Editors) Proceedings “30th International Conference on Condition Monitoring and Diagnostic Engineering Management (COMADEM 2017)”. Preston/Grange-Over-Sands (10 - 13 July 2017) Hardcopy version 9781909755154 (Published October 2018).


  • Thomas Parkinson Scholarship
  • Thomas Stephen Tribology Group Prize
  • Tribology Bronze Medal
  • IMechE Donald Julius Groen Prize


Example projects:

  • Next Generation Autonomous Machines: Intelligent Mechanical Sealing Systems (with James Walker Seals)
  • Development of a Lubrication Control System for the Piston-rings of Two-stroke Marine Diesel Engines
  • Characterisation of Materials and Lubricants for Space Mechanisms Using a Spin Orbit Tribometer (With ESTL)
  • The Development of a Theoretical Model for Piston-ring Lubrication”. (With Universitat Politècnica  de València)

Research activities:

  • Tribotronics (active components)
  • Tribology (lubrication, friction and wear)


  • Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP)
  • Chartered Physicist (CPhys)
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

  • Computer Aided Tribology (MP 3774)
  • Advanced Tribology: Design and reliability of machine elements (MP 4582)
  • Research Methods (EL 4166)


Invited Speaker / Session Chair:

  • NORDTRIB, ECOTRIB, Leeds-Lyon Symposium.

Organising committees:

  • World Tribology Congress (International Advisory Committee Member 2021 / Track co-ordinator 2014),
  • LUBMAT (Chair Organising Committee: 2006/2014, Conference Co-Chair 2008, 2010, 2016, 2018, 2020),
  • COMADEM (Organising Committee Co-Chair: 2017).

External Activities

  • Affiliate Professor of Tribotronics (KTH, Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Executive Director: International Tribology Council (ITC)
  • Deputy Chair (Chair elect): IMechE Tribology Group Committee (UK)
  • Member: UK Tribology Operations Committee (UK)
  • Member Editorial Board: Proc. IMechE Part J (Engineering Tribology). Sage Publications.
  • Member Editorial Board: “Tribology”. Frontiers Media.