Tribological Performance of Hybrid Filtered Arc-Magnetron Coatings: Part I: Coating Deposition Process and Basic Coating Properties Characterization

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Surface and Coatings Technology


Aircraft propulsion applications require low-friction and wear resistant surfaces that operate under high contact loads in severe environments. Recent research on supertough and low friction nanocomposite coatings produced with hybrid plasma deposition processes was demonstrated to have a high potential for such demanding applications. However, industrially scalable hybrid plasma technologies are needed for their commercial realization. The Large area Filtered Arc Deposition (LAFAD) process provides atomically smooth coatings at high deposition rates over large surface areas. The LAFAD technology allows functionally graded, multilayer, super-lattice and nanocomposite architectures of multi-elemental coatings via electro-magnetic mixing of two plasma flows composed of different metal ion vapors. Further advancement can be realized through a combinatorial process using a hybrid filtered arc-magnetron deposition system. In the present study, multilayer and nanostructured TiCrCN/TiCr + TiBC composite cermet coatings were deposited by the hybrid filtered arc-magnetron process. Filtered plasma streams from arc evaporated Ti and Cr targets, and two unbalanced magnetron sputtered B4C targets, were directed to the substrates in the presence of reactive gases. A multiphase nanocomposite coating architecture was designed to provide the optimal combination of corrosion and wear resistance of advanced steels (Pyrowear 675) used in aerospace bearing and gear applications. Coatings were characterized using SEM/EDS, XPS and RBS for morphology and chemistry, XRD and TEM for structural analyses, wafer curvature and nanoindentation for stress and mechanical properties, and Rockwell and scratch indentions for adhesion. Coating properties were evaluated for a variety of coating architectures. Thermodynamic modeling was used for estimation of phase composition of the top TiBC coating segment. Correlations between coating chemistry, structure and mechanical properties are discussed.

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