Irina Goryacheva

The 2009 Tribology Gold Medal was awarded to Academician Irina Goryacheva in recognition of her outstanding achievements in tribology; in particular for her meritorious work in the field of contact mechanics and its application to tribology.  


Irina Goryacheva received her Master Degree and PhD (Candidate of Science) at the Lomonosov Moscow State University.  In 1973 she joined the Institute for Problems in Mechanics of the Russian Academy of Science (now named The Ishlinsky Institute for Problems in Mechanics).  In 1979 she was awarded the Prize for young researchers in the field of science and technology and in 1988 the degree of Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics for her dissertation on “Contact Problems in Tribology”.  In 1996 she became the Head of the Institute’s Tribology Laboratory and in the same year a Professor of the Moscow Institute (University) of Physics and Technology.  In 1997 she was elected a corresponding member and in 2003 a full member of the Russian Academy of Science. 

Professor Goryacheva is a specialist in contact mechanics and its applications to tribology, developing a method to calculate the nominal and real characteristics of contact areas of rough surfaces based on multiscale analysis and on the exact solution of the boundary problem for the system of contact spots comprising the real contact area.  This approach forms a basis for the analysis of stresses in and near the contact region and for modelling the wear process of rough surfaces.

Her models of the simultaneous effects of contact discreteness and mechanical in-homogeneity of contacting bodies made it possible to analyse stresses within coatings and to determine the type of coating fracture for different loading conditions and surface roughness parameters.  It was shown that the discreteness of loading plays a major role for relatively thin and hard coatings.  She also investigated the influence of defects at the coating/substrate interface on the stress field and the type of coating fracture.

The adhesion forces caused by molecular interaction or by menisci of fluid formed near contacting tips of asperities are taken into account in her mathematical models, developed to analyse the influence of the surface microgeometry parameters, surface energy, properties of thin surface films and elastic moduli of contacting bodies on the contact pressure distribution, real contact area, and gap between the surfaces.  The results obtained are used to calculate the adhesion component of friction force in rolling and sliding contacts of elastic and viscoelastic bodies.

In addition to her expertise in the selection of materials and the types of surface treatments used for Russian rail/wheel applications, her work has been applied in the tyre industry, by construction companies and in other industries.

In the recent past she obtained important results in the study of the influence of surface energy of elastic and viscous bodies and the properties of third bodies on adhesion of solids and energy losses in contact interaction.  Applications include: nanotribology, microelectronics, micromechanics of granular material, engineering and atomic force microscopy.

From 1994 to 2000 Professor Irina Goryacheva was a visiting professor of Purdue University (USA).  Here she collaborated with Professor F Sadeghi on modelling of lubricated contact of viscoelastic rough bodies, and with Professor T Farris on calculation of the evolution of the contact characteristics and internal stresses in fretting process.

Her contributions in the educational field covers both undergraduate and graduate students in mechanical engineering and tribology.  She lectures in courses on contact mechanics at the Lomonosov Moscow State University and at the Moscow University of Physics and Technology.  She is a supervisor of PhD and Master Degree students specialising in tribology.

Professor Goryacheva is the author of three books “Contact Problems in Tribology”  (1988 Mashinostroenie), “Contact Mechanics in Tribology” (1998 Kluwer Academic Publishers, 344p), “Mechanics of Friction Interaction” (2001, Nauka 478p).  She is the co-author of the first manual “Fundamentals of Tribology” published in Russia in 2001, monographs “Contact Mechanics” (2001 Nauka, 670) and “Friction Wear and Lubrication” (2003 Mashinostroenie 712p).  She is credited with more than 200 papers in leading journals.

For clearness in expressing the basic concepts, as well as for her rigour in applying these concepts to overcome problems in engineering, Academician Goryacheva is a shining example of the academic teacher and researcher.  Her contribution to science and engineering and her outstanding service, not only to Russian Science, but also Science worldwide, makes her a worthy recipient of the world’s highest award in tribology, the Tribology Gold Medal.