According to Czichos, tribology is "an interdisciplinary field for optimizing mechanical technologies by reducing friction- and wear-related energy and material losses." [Czichos, H.; Habig, K.-H.: Tribologie Handb., 4th ed. Springer-Vieweg Verlag, Wiesbaden 2015]
While friction is a omnipresent natural phenomenon, research by means of experiments on this field can only be traced back historically to Leonardo da Vinci. A definition of tribology did not emerge until the middle of the 20th century, when comprehensive studies were conducted on its economic significance. According to DIN 50323, tribology is "the discipline of the scientific investigation and the technical application and influencing of the phenomena and processes between surfaces acting on each other and moving relative to each other. It includes all forms of interfacial interaction, both between solids and between solids and their liquid or gaseous environment."
Tribology comprises the subfields of friction, wear and lubrication. It is closely related to the materials of the bodies involved.
Tribology deals with the scientific description of friction, wear and lubrication, focusing on their optimization. The totality of all material partners involved in the wear process is called the tribosystem. It also takes into account the respective combination of bodies involved, material properties, geometries and loads that characterize the respective process.