Mechanical engineering is a field of engineering which studies, researches and provides training about the construction, manufacturing, manufacturing planning, assembly, maintenance-reparation and operation of all kinds of mechanisms, mechanical systems and energy conversion systems. This study focuses on the opinion of the students of mechanical engineering undergraduate program about lubricants and lubrication in general. When the curriculum of mechanical engineering undergraduate program is examined, it is observed that these subjects are partially covered in courses such as Machine Elements, Machine Design, Engines, etc. In Turkey, they are included in the curriculum of major universities such as Boğaziçi University, Süleyman Demirel University, Middle East Technical University, Dokuz Eylül University, Yıldız Technical University, Ticaret University, Bozok University, Pamukkale University, Fırat University, Cumhuriyet University and Piri Reis University as selective courses with the titles “Lubrication Techniques; Friction-Wear; Friction, Wear and Lubrication; Tribology; Tribology Principles and Practices; Wear and Lubrication in Machine Elements, etc.” Moreover, although limited, these trainings are provided as laboratory courses in some departments. Similarly, foreign universities such as Imperial College, Auburn University, Oakland University, Tokyo University of Science, Karlstad University, Penn State University, Northwestern University, etc. have selective courses and/or training, interdisciplinary laboratory practices with the titles “Tribology; Lubrication; Friction and Wear; Surface Technology and Tribology; Introduction to Tribology”.
In this study, opinion of two different student groups –students who completed their third year and graduate students of Süleyman Demirel University Mechanical Engineering Department with the condition of having taken the Industrial Lubricant Techniques course. This text discusses the student perspectives on lubrication and lubricants and whether they find sufficient the theoretical information they learned during the courses. Questions asked and answers of the students are given below. The former number indicates the percentage of third grade students while the latter number indicates the graduate students.
When did you hear about lubrication and lubricants first?
Machine Elements (32%), Laboratory (38%), Energy Technologies (10%), Introduction to Mechanical Engineering (5%), Material Information (5%), Manufacturing Processes (4%), Other (6%).
Was this information sufficient?
Sufficient (80%, 18%), Not Sufficient (20%, 82%).
What can be done?
Practical courses should be opened (65%, 80%), more comprehensive information should be shared (21%, 8%), it should be supported with visual presentations or videos (14%, 12%).
Which terms have you learned about lubrication and lubricants?
Viscosity (25%, 30%), lubricant-grease (6%), friction force, friction coefficient, wear (11%, 21%), lubrication (lubrication, hydrodynamic lubrication, hydrostatic lubrication, bearing) (10%, 16%), sealing components (2%, 7%), Stribeck curve (7%, 28%), tribology (10%, 22%), oil film (8%), Petroff equation (1%, 15%), other (filter, oil reservoir, oil pump, thickness, cavitation, bearing, oil canal, Sommerfeld number, grease fitting, etc.) (20%, 30%).
Do you think lubrication is an important subject for mechanical engineering practices?
It is important in terms of friction and wear and in terms of machine’s life and efficiency (39%, 52%), it is important because it may cause financial loss (31%, 34%), it is important in terms of heat control and the function of machine parts (30%, 14%).
Do you think lubrication is important for machines or systems only for wear and life, or do you think operational costs make it important, too?
It is important for wear and life (14%, 17%), it is important for operational costs (17%, 25%), it is important both for wear and life and for operational costs (69%, 58%).
What have you learned the most from these courses?
Lubrication must be considered in machine design (9%, 56%), it must be considered in daily life (7%), importance of lubricants and lubrication (51%, 56%), how much it affects the machine’s life, maintenance is important (9%, 18%), impact on efficiency (9%, 27%), no answer (15%)
Will the content of these subjects affect your decision when selecting your career path or sector?
Yes (71%, 69%), No (25%, 15%), No Answer (4%, 16%)
Has your thoughts about maintenance and lubrication in machines changed after learning this information?
Maintenance, reparation and lubrication is important (52%, 87%), not much change in thoughts (11%, 7%), No answer (37%, 6%).
This study will be published in Lubricant World magazine, which is distributed worldwide and all across Turkey. Therefore, would you like to deliver any messages with the sector? If any, please share with us.
Yes (15%): The number of Turkish articles should increase, the magazine should reach the students of relevant departments, the magazine should offer employment opportunities, information should be shared on lubricant preferences in the market, seminars should be organized for students, training videos should be prepared, catalogues should be shared with universities, awareness-raising activities should be organized for the public, Turkish products should increase, there should be more opportunities for young engineers, there should be employment opportunities for students in the sector, universities should be supported for experimental studies, companies should focus on R&D, etc. No (27%), No answer (58%).
It is understood that the perspective of our students change when they gain information about lubricants and lubrication; thus we should increase the number of such courses, and universities should organize more training activities in partnership with the industry.