A comparative study of the structural, mechanical and tribological characteristics of TiSiC-Cr coatings prepared in CH4 and C2H2 reactive atmosphere by cathodic vacuum arc

A comparative study of the structural, mechanical and tribological characteristics of TiSiC-Cr coatings prepared in CH4 and C2H2 reactive atmosphere by cathodic vacuum arc

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Applied Surface Science, Volume 400, p.318-328 (2017)

ISBN:

0169-4332

Abstract:

<p>TiSiC-Cr coatings, with Cr and Si as additional elements, were deposited on Si, C 45 and 316 L steel substrates via cathodic arc evaporation. Two series of coatings with thicknesses in the range of 3.6-3.9 mu m were produced, using either CH4 or C2H2 as carbon containing gas. For each series, different coatings were prepared by varying the carbon rich gas flow rate between 90 and 130 sccm, while maintaining constant cathode currents (110 and 100A at TiSi and Cr cathodes, respectively), substrate bias (-200 V) and substrate temperature (similar to 320 degrees C). The coatings were analyzed for their mechanical characteristics (hardness, adhesion) and tribological performance (friction, wear), along with their elemental and phase composition, chemical bonds, crystalline structure and cross-sectional morphology. The coatings were found to be formed with nano-scale composite structures consisting of carbide crystallites (grain size of 3.1-8.2 nm) and amorphous hydrogenated carbon. The experimental results showed significant differences between the two coating series, where the films formed from C2H2 exhibited markedly superior characteristics in terms of microstructure, morphology, hardness, friction behaviour and wear resistance. For the coatings prepared using CH4, the measured values of crystallite size, hardness, friction coefficient and wear rate were in the ranges of 7.2-8.2 nm, 26-30 GPa, 0.3-0.4 and 2.1-4.8 x 10(-6) mm(3) N-1 m(-1), respectively, while for the coatings grown in C2H2, the values of these characteristics were found to be in the ranges of 3.1-3.7 nm, 41-45 GPa, 0.1-0.2 and 1.4-3.0 x 10(-6) mm(3) N-1 m(-1), respectively. Among the investigated coatings, the one produced using C2H2 at the highest flow rate (130 sccm) exhibited the highest hardness (45.1 GPa), the lowest friction coefficient (0.10) and the best wear resistance (wear rate of 1.4 x 10(-6) mm(3) N-1 m(-1)). (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.</p>