The Silver Medal is a national award in recognition of an exceptionally meritorious contribution to the science and technology of tribology.
Dr Robert Ian Taylor gained his degree in Natural Sciences (Physics) from Cambridge University in 1984, and a PhD in Applied Physics and Electronics from Durham University in 1987.
From 1988-1991 he worked as a research scientist for Plessey Research, mainly modelling semiconductor waveguides and low noise transistors. In 1991 he joined Shell Research Limited as a researcher, where he initially worked on developing models to predict the oil film thickness and friction of piston rings. He developed similar models for journal bearings and valve train systems, the aim being to build reliable mathematical models of tribological activity in lubricated engine components and vehicle power trains and thus reduce the reliance of expensive laboratory and field testing new lubricants and mechanical systems in the search for improved fuel economy and efficient, clean transport.
The analytical models and the associated software tools that Ian and his team in lubrication science developed have made a valuable contribution to improved efficiency and power delivery in both passenger vehicle engines and the more specialised area of Formula I development. From 2006-2012 Ian was the Technology Manager for Shell’s Lubrication Science Team , a group of about 20 scientists split between the UK and USA, and from 2012-2020 he was Technology Manager in Shell’s Lubricants Discovery Hub, the Innovation Team behind Shell Global Commercial’s lubricant product development teams. Dr Taylor was responsible for managing the various university activities sponsored by the team, mainly located at Tsinghua University and Imperial College London. He also ensured that new and emerging technologies were evaluated for inclusion in the R&D program. Ian retired from Shell in late 2020 and was recently appointed to an honorary Visiting Professorship in Lubricants at the University of Central Lancashire.
Ian was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers in 2019 and was also elected as a Fellow of the UK’s Institute of Physics in 2018.
Ian has published extensively in the field of lubrication science and tribology, has five patents and is well known in the industry. He has received awards from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the UK’s Institute of Mechanical Engineering, and is regularly invited to International Conferences as both a presenter and to chair sessions. He sits on both the Institute of Physics (IOP) Tribology Committee and the IOP Merseyside Branch Committee, and has, in the past been Chair of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Tribology Network. He also serves as an Associate Editor for the Institute of Mechanical Engineering Proceedings Part J: Journal of Engineering Tribology. He is therefore a worthy winner of the 2020 Tribology Silver Medal.