Professor Igor Kragel'skii

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Science and technology of friction and wear.

Professor Kragel’skii, one of the world’s leading authorities in friction and wear research and its application to practical problems, has been an avid explorer in the field of tribology. In devoting the whole of his immensely successful scientific career to the development of tribology and to its introduction into mechanical engineering, Professor Kragel’skii has been a superb guide and mentor to many young scientists and engineers.

Professor Igor Kragel’skii is head of the Friction and Wear Laboratory of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. After graduating, Professor Kragel’skii worked for a period as a design engineer. He joined the Institute of Mechanical Engineering in Moscow in 1939.

Since then his name has become inseparable from the sphere of dry friction and wear of a vast variety of solid materials. Professor Kragel’skii was the first scientist in the USSR to carry out fundamental theoretical and experimental investigations in this area, in which he is the author of six fundamental books and several hundreds of scientific papers and articles.

In 1941 he published his comprehensive treatise on the friction of fibrous materials, which was the first to refute the then prevailing concept of the constancy of the friction coefficient.

In 1945 he published his well-known book “Effect of Surface Roughness on Friction”, after which the concept of “specific frictional force” firmly established itself in tribology.

In developing these ideas, Professor Kragel’skii published a pioneer handbook on boundary friction for research workers, mechanical engineers and machine designers: “Coefficients of Friction” (Mashgis, Moscow, 1955).

Since 1955 he has carried out studies in depth on the friction and wear of solids, resulting in a theory of friction, developed to a stage, which facilitated the pre-computation of static friction from data of the micro-geometry of contacting surfaces and their physical and mechanical properties. His equation which determines the condition for the external/internal friction transition and the important concept of positive tangential resistance gradient, has had a profound influence on the development of tribology.

His book “Friction and Wear” was published in the USSR twice (1963, 1968), in England (1965) and in the GDR (1972).

Professor Kragel’skii devoted much effort to the investigation of friction and wear in vacuum and published the monograph “Friction and Wear in Vacuum” (Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1973).

Professor Kragel’skii has also a profound knowledge of the history of tribology. In 1956, co-authored by V. Shchedrov, he published the monograph “Development of the Science of Friction”, a unique and comprehensive monograph devoted to this subject.

Professor Kragel’skii was the founder of the Scientific Council of Friction of the Academy of Sciences (1961), and is its permanent Vice-President. He was also the organizer and President of the Tribonics Committee of the all-Union Society of Engineers. He is a Vice-President of the International Tribology Council. He takes part in the organization of most conferences of primary importance on Tribology and Tribonics in the USSR.

The scientific school created by him is widely acknowledged, both in the USSR and abroad, and many scientists who have graduated under his guidance now carry on successful work in tribology.

A scientist of high distinction, Profess Kragel’skii has, throughout his career, maintained close contact with industry. Perhaps, because of his involvement with practical affairs, Professor Kragel’skii’s contributions to tribology in the applied areas are now universally acknowledged as being of the highest order of industrial relevance. His place amongst the very great in the sphere of tribology is wholly assured.

These developments have found a wide application, not only in the former Soviet Union, but also by joint work in Israel. In the case of new bearings more than 200,000 half bearings have been made for use by diesel locomotives.