Background and activities

Nuria Espallargas (1979) is a Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. She has a MSc in Chemistry from University of Barcelona (Spain) and a PhD in Metallurgy and Materials Engineering from the same university.

She is also the NTNU leader of the Gemini Centre “Tribology” since 2011.

Research Interests

  • Surface chemistry and engineering.
  • Tribology and tribocorrosion.
  • Nano-tribology.

The main motivation is to perform basic research to understand degradation phenomena that starts on metal surfaces exposed to aggressive chemical environment. Under these conditions metals are typically covered by oxides, which greatly affect wear and friction. The focus is to understand the degradation phenomena of materials exposed to chemo-mechanical effects.

Surface engineering is the key to add functionality to surfaces and therefore finding new solutions to materials problems by controlling their surface chemistry is the ultimate goal of my research. In addition, understanding the mechanisms at the nano, micro and macro scale is crucial to solve materials degradation therefore the other goal of my research is to perform testing across scales to design and optimise surface solutions.

I find my research relevant for different types of applications, i.e. oil&gas, drilling and tunneling, biomaterials, materials manufacturing, sports and renewable energy (wind and solar).

Main topics of research projects

  • Tribocorrosion mechanisms in coatings and metals.
  • Multidegradation - the interaction of tribocorrosion with fatigue.
  • Experimental nano-tribology. 
  • Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants and water lubrication for offshore applications.
  • Coatings and surface treatments for use in tribocorrosive environments.
  • Chemistry processes for developing new feedstock materials for thermal spraying.

Work experience

  • 2012 – current           Professor, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, NTNU.
  • 2015 – 2016              Visiting Professor, Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, Dept. of Materials, ETH, Zurich.
  • 2014 – 2018              CTO Seram Coatings AS.
  • 2009 – 2012              Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Design and Materials, NTNU.
  • 2009 – 2014              Scientific Advisor, SINTEF Materials and Chemistry.

Board/Editorial work

  • 2016 – current:        Associate Editor of the Journal of Tribology (ASME).
  • 2015:                       Editor of the book “Future Development of Thermal Spray Coatings:   Types, Designs, Manufacture and Applications”. Woodhead Publishing Ltd (Elsevier). ISBN 9780857097699. doi:10.1016/B978-0-85709-769-9.09987-5.
  • 2015 – current:        Editorial board of the journal Wear (Elsevier).
  • 2014 – current:        Editorial board of the Journal of Bio- and Tribo-Corrosion (Springer).
  • 2014 – current:        Board member of Seram Coatings AS.
  • 2013:                       Editor of the NordTrib 2012 special issue in Wear. “Selected papers from those presented at the 15th Nordic Symposium on Tribology (Nordtrib 2012) Trondheim, June 12-15, 2012”. Wear 308 (1–2) (2013).


  • Personal:
    • Female entrepreneur 2017 (Norway).
    • Young innovator award 2015 (Norway). To the best younger entrepreneur woman of Norway in 2015.
    • Nominated for the best communicator of NTNU at the “Kom Award NTNU 2015”.
  • Seram Coatings AS:
    • Innovator award 2015 (Norway). To the most innovative start-up of Norway in 2015.
    • Academic Enterprise Award 2015. Awarded by the Science Business Standing Committee for Horizon 2020 (The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation).
    • Adolf Øien Kapitalfond award 2014. To the most promising start-up of Mid-Norway in 2014.

Membership in Academic and Professional Organizations and Committees

  • 2013 – current:        Member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Tribo-corrosion Conference organized by International TriboCorrosion Network.
  • 2012 – current:        Member of the International Advisory Board of International Tribology Symposium of the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science.
  • 2009 – current:        Member of the Nordic Advisory Board of the Nordic Tribology Symposium (NordTrib).

Selected invited talks at international conferences/workshops

  • October 2018: Molecular mechanisms in tribology, Beilstein nanotechnology symposium 2018, Postdam, Germany, 2-4 October 2018. “The Lubrication Mechanisms of Water-Based Fluids”.
  • September 2018: Norsk Industri 2018, Bodø, Norway, 26-27 September 2018. “How to make a difference in a 100-years old business”.
  • January 2018: TAE’18 –21st International Colloquium Tribology. 9-11 January 2018, Stuttgart, Germany. Key-note speaker: “Surface effects on friction and wear of stainless steels exposed to fatigue, corrosive and lubricated environment”.
  • June 2017: The Role of Universities in Innovation – Starmus Festival 2017, Trondheim, Norway, 18-23 June. “From research to innovation”.
  • July 2016: Second international workshop on understanding and controlling nano and mesoscale friction. 4-7 July, Riga, Latvia. Invited speaker: “Nano-tribocorrosion on passive metals: a new approach to investigate the role of friction in tribocorrosion mechanisms”.
  • March 2016: WE-Heraeus-Seminar: Mechanisms of Tribology. 29-March to 1-April, Bad Honnef, Germany. Invited speaker: “Effect of surface oxides on friction of metals and ceramic-metallic materials”.
  • June 2015: European Conference on Tribology (ECOTRIB 2015). 3-5 June, Lugano, Switzerland. Keynote: “Tribocorrosion and coatings - the unexpected behaviour”.
  • January 2013: Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) 2013 annual meeting. 26-30 January, San Antonio, USA. “Tribocorrosion in Orthopedic Implants – A New Approach to an Old Problem”.


Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications