Dr. ing. Nicolae TIPEI

Born in April 1913,in Calarasi, Romania, Nicolae Tipei went to the Gh. Lazar high school (lyceum) in Bucharest between 1923 and 1930. After graduating with a Baccalaureat in Mathematics, he enrolled in the Polytechnic Institute, Bucharest, where he received a Master degree in Electromechanics and Aeronautics (1936). Later he obtained a Ph.D in Engineering (1969), from the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of the Romanian Academy in Bucharest.

In 1936, after military service, Tipei started teaching at the Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest, successively as an assistant, lecturer, associate professor (conferentiar) and finally professor in 1964. He carried an unbroken activity both in research and teaching until 1971 when he left Romania. In the period 1937-1948 he was also employed in the Romanian industry, namely by the Romanian Railways (as assistant head of a department in the railway locomotive workshops) and by the Romanian Airlines L.A.R.E.S., later T.A.R.O.M. (as head of the Structures Department). Between 1939-1943 Tipei owned a machine trade company, and in the interval 1945-1949 he was a chief engineer at the Romanian Mechanical and Chemical Industry.

From 1949 to 1971 Nicolae Tipei was head of the Machinery and Lubrication Divisions of the Institutes of Applied Mechanics and of Fluid Mechanics of the Romanian Academy; later, he became head of the Tribology Division of the Romanian Institute for Scientific Creation and Technology.

In 1971, Tipei left Romania and first spent one year in France, where he worked for the companies „Total” and”Electricite de France” as a consultant engineer. In 1972 he went to the United States to work for General Motors Research Laboratories where he was a Research Fellow until his retirement in 1981.

In 1979 Nicolae Tipei, his wife Letitia and his son Sever became U.S. citizens.

Tipei was awarded the State Prize of the Romanian Republic in 1956, for scientific activity and in 1964 was elected a corresponding member of the Romanian Academy. While working at GM, he received the Mayo D. Hersey Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for both scientific and educational activity.

Nicolae Tipei has published 89 scientific papers in various journales such as Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Transactions of the American Society of Lubrication Engineers, Comptes Rendus de l’Academie des Sciences, Paris, Zeitschrift fur Flugwiesenschaften D.G.L.R. (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Luft und Raumfahrt), Germany, Revue de Mecanique Appliquee, Romania, Bulletin de l’Ecole Polytechnique de Bucarest, Romania, etc. Other 31 papers from a total of over 120 papers and books were presented as internal or restricted reports. He has published six books on: Flight Mechanics, Airports and Airplane Operation, Theory of Lubrication and Bearing Calculus, Design and Operation. The book „Theory of Lubrication”, published in U.S.A. by Stanford and Oxford University Press was considered as the most complete in the field. Another book on Sliding Bearings was translated in Russian.

The fields of Tipei’s activity have included Lubrication (liquid and gas lubrication) Dynamics of Flight, Rocket Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics and Rheology. The research work carried at the Institute of Applied Mechanics and the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of the Romanian Academy was mainly based on research in lubrication and Nicolae Tipei is considered the founder of a Romanian school in this field. He delivered courses at the Polytechnic Institute, Bucharest on Flight Mechanics and Rocket Dynamics continuously between 1947 and 1971. These were the first courses of their kind introduced in Romania and included such topics as the Dynamics of Helicopter Flight and Space Flight. A book concerning these topics was actually prepared. Another course Tipei taught at the Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest was devoted to Airports and Airplane Operation. He also taught a course on Pumps and Compressors, in 1952-1953, and a special course on Rocket Dynamics and Astrodynamics in 1958.

Other activities and visits include:

  • Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, Aerodynamic Laboratories, 1937.
  • Technische Hochschule Aachen, Germany, Aerodynamic Laboratories, 1938.
  • Prague, Brno and Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, a two months visit of the main research institutes and industrial plants, related to the construction of machines and lubrication,1956.
  • Belgium, Brussels, Congress of I.U.T.A.M., 1956.
  • London, Lubrication Conference, 1957.
  • Moscow, U.S.S.R., Unional Lubrication Conference, 1958.
  • Peking, Hangchow and Shanghai, Continental China, visiting scientist, invited by Academi Sinica.
  • Washington, U.S.A., Lubrication Conference, 1964.
  • Great Britain. Visiting scientist (universities of Leicester, Southampton, London (Imperial College), and Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory at Thorntonhall) invited by the Imperial College of Science and Technology, Londont and by the British Council, 1965.
  • Great Britain (University of Leeds, Imperial College, London, Cranfield Aeronautical Laboratories, and National Engineering Research Laboratory at East Kilbride), invited by the Royal Society and by the British Council, 1966
  • London, Imperial College, Limits of Lubrication Conference, 1969.
  • London, Imperial College, Limits of Lubrication Conference, 1971.


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • Gesellschaft fur Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (G.A.M.M.), Germany

Adapted after http://ems.music.uiuc.edu/people/tipei/NT/index.html


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