[en] From a tribological point of view, the selection of materials for seals for valves of cryogenic rocket engines is a critical issue for the designer. Due to the lack of comprehensive information on this topic. data have been obtained in the framework of research programmes. In the first step, two polymers potentially usable for sealing cryogenic fluids were identified, They were submitted to general test conditions to gain some fundamental understanding of their tribological behaviour when immersed in a cryogenic fluid. This fundamental understanding proved to be helpful for an efficient technical approach. This approach with the test conditions as close as possible to those met in real valves has been used in the second step. In order to obtain the best information with the minimum number of tests, the statistical method of Doehlert has been adopted. The use of such a method led to the construction of surface response for modelling friction and wear. These surfaces and their associated equation are directly and easily usable by the designer, This way of treating technical tribological problem is illustrated by an example. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.