THE National Engineering Laboratory was created in 1949 and operated as part of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Its nucleus was part of the Engineering Division of the National Physical Laboratory, and it was natural therefore that one of the principal areas of work was lubrication and wear, following on from the work of Stanton, Clayton and Fogg at NPL in the 1930s and 1940s. The Lubrication and Wear Division was one of seven divisions at the Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory (MERL) (later renamed the National Engineering Laboratory) devoted to the science of mechanical engineering. The Division was headed by Dr. (now Professor) F. T. Barwell, and it is interesting to look at the structure of the group which he built up. Much is heard nowadays of ‘the multi‐disciplinary nature of tribology’; it was obviously recognised by Barwell almost a generation ago that a successful attack on the problems of lubrication and wear could only be made by a coherent group of metallurgists, physicists, chemists and engineers.
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