Interview with Tobias

Interview with Tobias

What’s your name?

Tobias Schlarb

What are your hobbies?

During my free time I prefer to go out. Things like football, running and biking are my preferred sports.

What did you study and what is your highest educational attainment?

I was born and raised in Karlsruhe and therefore it was obvious for me to study mechanical engineering at KIT (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie) in the first year of the new bachelor-master system. I have finished my studies 2014 with a Master of Science degree. My focus was on lightweight construction as well as dynamics and theory of oscillations.

Where do you work and what’s your position?

Since end of 2014 I am working as application engineer and R&D for Molykote Specialty lubricants at DuPont Specialty Products GmbH & Co. KG in Wiesbaden.

Since when are you part of working group “Young Tribologists“?

I am proud to be one of the members from “hour zero” of the working group and I remember well the first meeting at Evonik in Darmstadt. Mirjam Bäse has brought the idea of a young tribologist working group to life and invited interested participants to this meeting. At that time, we were not quite sure how this working group may operate, what are our goals and if we can inspire other young people to join. Since 2019 I have pulled back my activities in the working group due to shortage of time, but I am still very proud to see how things have developed in the working group over time.

Why are you a member of working group “Young Tribologists”?

I had just entered the company when the working group was established. My former colleague Dr. Jungk asked me if I would like to join. I took the opportunity to meet young people outside of my company, who worked in a similar area of expertise. Mutual knowledge transfer and connecting with people in industry and university, were and are reasons for me being at the young tribologist group.

How did you end up in the field of tribology?

Honestly, I have been falling into tribology by coincidence, maybe like the story of other tribologists. During my bachelor studies I searched for a thesis and found an opportunity at Fraunhofer Institut fuer Werkstoffmechanik (IWM), at that time resident on the site of Institut fuer Chemischer Technologie (ICT) in Berghausen. The topic of the thesis covered experiments on pin-on-disk tribometer on laser structured surfaces. At that time, I just finished a lecture about laser technology and found it to be interesting to work with such a device. Unfortunately, I found out laser structuring was applied by a different institute and the work was fully focused on tribological experiments. My knowledge about tribology was on the level of school physics with sliding experiments of several materials on gradient planes. Also, tribology was not or only slightly covered in mechanical and constructional lecture at university. However, I have decided to join this unidentified field of expertise with my narrow knowledge and until today, I have not regret it./p>

What topics are you working on and are there any connections to the field of tribology?

My activities cover application technology related customer support and development of pasty specialty lubricants. Specialty lubricants are products adapted to specific customer applications. We try to fully understand customer needs and translate them into our formulations. Lubricants are chemical products, that need to perform tribological. The link between chemistry, mechanical engineering and tribology is something I find very interesting.

Do you have any favorite anecdote about the broad field of tribology?

During my bachelor thesis I had a discussion of results of an XPS sub-surface analysis of a test specimen, which has performed in a low friction regime. Apparently, a chemical compound has been formed, which is also part of building cement. I found myself thinking about adding cement to the test oil and repeating the experiment to investigate the influence of this compound on friction and wear. Thank god I didn’t do it. Otherwise I would have been forced to perform a long cleaning procedure on the test bench.