• Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1990
  • M.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1986
  • A.B., Harvard University, 1984

Research Areas

  • Tribology; Thin-film lubrication, capillarity, contact mechanics and dynamics


Began at Tech in Fall 1990 as an Assistant Professor.


Dr. Streator’s research is concerned with the interactions between contacting surfaces, with particular emphasis on the roles played by surface roughness and by intervening liquid films. Much of this research is motivated by problems of adhesion or “stiction” that is prevalent in small-scale devices such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and in the head-disk interface of computer disk drives. As device form factors continue to shrink the role of surface forces, such as liquid surface tension become increasingly dominant as compared to inertial forces. In this regard Dr. Streator has been interested in developing models that consider the interplay between liquid-drive capillary stresses and elastic restoring forces. This work has led to models of contact instabilities force generation predictions for both smooth and rough interfaces.

Model of contact between a snake scale and an elastic slab.

Model of contact between a snake scale and an elastic slab.


Over the last few years Dr. Streator and co-workers have developed semi-analytical and numerical models related to the elastic and elastic-plastic contact of rough surfaces. In particular, Dr. Streator has been interested in addressing the problem of scale in surface contact, which arises from the existence of numerous spatial frequencies that comprise the surface topography.

Dr. Streator’s laboratory has also developed numerical simulations of friction heat generation in sliding contacts, fluid leakage rates in static seals, and has conducted experiments that reveal critical phenomena related to the electrical contact resistance.   Most recently, Dr. Streator has investigated mechanisms of friction in limbless animal locomotion and the lubricating behavior of soft metals at high shear rates.


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers Fellow, 2010
  • Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers Fellow, 2010
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Women in Engineering Program Faculty Mentoring Award, 2007
    • Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Excellence in Teaching (College of Engineering), 1998
    • Order of Omega Outstanding Professor, 1998
    • Georgia Tech Foundation Teaching Fellow Award, 1993
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1992-1997

Representative Publications

  • J. Zheng, and J. L. Streator, 2004, A Micro-scale Liquid Bridge between Two Elastic Half-Spaces: Theoretical Study of Interface Instability. Tribology Letters 16(1), 1.
  • Streator, J. L., 2003, Dynamic Contact of a Rigid Sphere with an Elastic Half-Space: A Numerical Simulation, ASME Journal of Tribology vol. 125, p. 25.
  • Streator, J. L, 2002, A Model of Mixed Lubrication with Capillary Effects, Proceedings of the 28th Leeds-Lyon Symposium on TribologyBoundary and Mixed Lubrication: Science and Applications, p.121.
  • Korach, C., Streator, J. and Danyluk, S., 2001, Measurement of Perfluoropolyther Lubricant Thickness on a Magnetic Disk Surface, Journal of Applied Physics, vol. 79, p. 698.
  • Streator, J. L., Huang, J., and Zheng, J., 2000, High Shear Rate Response of Thin Lubricant Films in a Slider-Disk Interface, Proceedings of the 26th Leeds-Lyon Symposium on Tribology Thinning Films and Tribological Interfaces, Elsevier, New York, pp. 285-292.