Friction and Wear of Hard Yet Tough TiN Coatings Deposited Using High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering

Qian Zhou,Yixiang Ou,Feiqiang Li, Changyu Ou,Wenbin Xue,Bin Liao,Qingsong Hua, Yunfei Xu, Jidong Cao, Guanshu Qu


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The friction and wear response of hard coatings is complex, which largely depends on a good combination of hardness and toughness, and their service life is difficult to predict. Hence, in this work, hard yet tough TiN coatings were deposited using high-power impulse magnetron sputtering at 5-10 kW. With increasing sputtering power, the coatings showed a transition in crystal texture from (200) to (111), along with a refinement in microstructure, leading to an improvement in hardness (H) of 29.8-31.2 GPa and an effective Young's modulus (E*) of 310-365 GPa. The hard yet tough TiN coatings deposited at 6.5 kW exhibited the highest H/E* and H3/E*2 ratios of 0.097 and 0.29, respectively, as well as the highest fracture toughness of 2.1 MPam1/2 and elastic recovery of 42.5%. Accordingly, the coatings possessed an enhanced adhesion and cohesion, in terms of micro-scratch critical load (LC3 = 19.67 N) and HF Rockwell HF1 level. The friction and wear response of hard yet tough TiN coatings under the normal load of 1-10 N were investigated to explore their durability and predict their critical load up to failure. Wear mechanisms changed from oxidative to severe abrasive wear, with load increasing from 1 to 10 N. At 2-5 N, a combination of oxidative and abrasive wear was observed. The coatings maintained their integrity up to the critical load of 9.4 N before failure event, with a maximum wear track depth of 1.8 mu m, indicating their durability under the loading conditions.
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Key words
hard yet tough,TiN coatings,high-power impulse magnetron sputtering,wear response
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