Wu, Wenwen (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The present investigation has been focused on the design, deposition and characterisation of novel low-friction, wear-resistant multilayer nanocomposite CrAlTiCN coatings. Systematic materials characterisation and property evaluation were conducted on the as-deposited and oxidation-tested CrAlTiCN coatings, and the results are presented and discussed. It is possible to generate novel CrAlTiCN coatings with the carbon content up to 24.34 at% by closed-field unbalanced magnetron sputtering of graphite target. The microstructure of the CrAlTiCN coatings mainly depends on their carbon content. When the carbon content is low, carbon atoms are mainly dissolved in the fcc metastable phase (Cr, Al, Ti) (C, N); when the carbon content is high, the major carbon atoms will form amorphous carbon with a C-C bond state and in a sp\(^2\) dominated graphitic environment. Both the hardness and brittleness of CrAlTiCN coatings reduce with increasing the carbon content. When tested at room temperature under unidirectional sliding conditions, the friction coefficient and wear of the CrAlTiCN coatings decrease with the carbon content, and the thermal stability of CrAlTiCN coatings is similar to the CrAlTiN coating but better than graphite-like carbon coatings. The good performance of the new CrAlTiCN coatings can be attributed to the optimised design of the coating system: the Cr/Al for oxidation resistance, the amorphous C for lowfriction and the multi-layered nano-composite microstructure for high toughness.
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