, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 280–302

Thin film lubrication in the past 20 years

Open Access
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s40544-016-0135-5

Cite this article as:
Ma, L. & Luo, J. Friction (2016) 4: 280. doi:10.1007/s40544-016-0135-5


Thin film lubrication (TFL), a lubrication regime that fills the gap between boundary lubrication (BL) and elastohydrodynamic lubrication (EHL) regimes, was proposed 20 years ago. Since it was first recorded in the literature, TFL has gained substantial interest and has been advanced in the fields of theoretical and experimental research. Following the revelation of the TFL phenomenon and its central ideas, many studies have been conducted. This paper attempts to systematically review the major developments in terms of both the history and the advances in TFL. It begins with the description and definition of TFL, followed by the state-of-art studies on experimental technologies and their applications. Future prospects of relevant studies and applications are also discussed.


thin film lubrication TFL thin EHL film ordered structure interface 

Copyright information

© The author(s) 2016

Open Access: The articles published in this journal are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of TribologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations