Tribology is the study of the mechanical properties of materials, particularly the effects of relative motion. The first insights into tribology date back to Leonardo DaVinci and his laws of friction. The field has since developed to include a wide array of mechanical properties in addition to friction, including lubrication, wear, and scratch testing. Tribology is now considered a field within the wider discipline of mechanical engineering.



Tribology instruments employ very small forces in their measurements, so extraneous forces from environmental acoustic and vibration sources can interfere with accurate results. Furthermore, techniques like nanoindentation are often deployed in concert with other techniques like atomic force microscopy (AFM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), or scanning electron microscopy (SEM), which makes the application vulnerable to the sensitivities of these other techniques.

It is recommended that tribology instruments be placed in a quiet environment and some basic level of vibration isolation system should be employed. For more demanding applications, utilizing an active vibration control system would be advisable. A box or shield should also be used to provide the instrument with a basic level of protection from acoustic noise and air currents. Since materials expand and contract based on temperature, thermal fluctuation should also be monitored and, wherever possible, minimized