University of Delaware - College of Engineering

Dr. David L. Burris

Principal Investigator: Materials Tribology Laboratory
Assistant professor
Mechanical Engineering Dept.
University of Delaware

210 Spencer Laboratory
Personal website:
Cirriculum Vitae
Google Scholar Profile
Doctoral dissertation

Executive summary

Dr. Burris is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Delaware. He studied solid mechanics, design, and manufacturing at the University of Florida and received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2007. His research interests are in the area of materials tribology; research activities target an improved understanding of the fundamental processes underlying friction and wear at contacting interfaces. His current research efforts are motivated by challenges of (1) space lubrication, (2) joint disease, rehabilitation, and prevention, and (3) energy conservation.

Awards and honors

  • ASME Burt L. Newkirk Award, 2015
  • University of Florida Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, 2011
  • ASME Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal, 2010
  • AFOSR Young Investigator Award, 2010
  • STLE Walter D. Hodson Award, 2009
  • ASME Marshall B. Peterson Award, 2008

Select publications

Google Scholar provides the complete publication list
  • An analytical model to predict interstitial lubrication of cartilage in migrating contacts, A.C. Moore, D.L. Burris, online in the Journal of Biomechanics, 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.09.020
  • A quantitative method for measuring nanocomposite dispersion, H.S. Khare,D.L. Burris, Polymer 51 (2010) 719-729
  • Addressing practical challenges of low friction coefficient measurements, D.L. Burris, W.G. Sawyer, Tribology Letters 35 (2009) 17-23
  • Polymeric Nanocomposites for Tribological Applications, D.L. Burris, B. Boesl, J.R. Bourne and W.G. Sawyer, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 292 (2007) 387-4
  • 02
  • A Low Friction and Ultra Low Wear Rate PEEK/PTFE Composite, D.L. Burris and W.G. Sawyer, Wear 261 (2006) 410-418

Research areas

Aerospace Engineering

Tribo-materials to lubricate moving mechanical assemblies in extreme air and space environments


Cartilage load support and lubrication, relating tissue structure and function, relating deterioration of tissue structure and function, and understanding role in Osteoarthritis.

Biomedical Engineering

Soft tissue tribology including cartilage, meniscus, hydrogels; lubrication and load support mechanisms; Osteoarthritis; tissue wear and degeneration, biomaterials engineering and joint replacement

Clean Energy

Wind turbine design, tribology, and reliability; energy conservation via design and synthesis of novel low friction tribomaterials

Composite and Advanced Materials

Design and synthesis of tribological composite materials, functionally graded materials, hierarchically structured materials, multifunctional materials (strength, lubricity, dissipation of frictional power)

Instrument Design

Precision and in-situ instrument design

Materials Engineering

Solid lubricant engineering; polymers science, composites, and nanocomposites; metal matrix composites, nanocomposite tribological coatings, diamond-like carbon, Polytetrafluoroethylene, Molybdenum disulfide and composites


Low friction, low wear polymer nanocomposites for tribological applications; design; synthesis; characterization of dispersion, mechanical properties, crystallinity, crystalline morphology, interphase, tribology

Solid Mechanics

Contact and interface mechanics, failure of materials