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Title: Nanoscale multilayer Me-graphite coatings grown by combined steered cathodic arc/unbalanced magnetron sputtering
Author: Kok, Yin Nan
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2005
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Low friction, nanoscale multilayer carbon/chromium (C/Cr) coatings were successfully deposited by the combined steered cathodic arc/unbalanced magnetron sputtering technique (also known as Arc Bond Sputtering or ABS) using a Hauzer HTC 1000-4 PVD coater. The work described in this thesis has been directed towards understanding the effect of ion irradiation on the composition, microstructure, and functional properties of C/Cr coatings. This has been achieved by varying the bias voltage, U[B], over a wide range between -65 V and -550 V. C/Cr coatings were deposited in three major steps: (i) Cr+ ion etching using a steered cathodic arc discharge at a substrate bias voltage of -1200 V, (ii) deposition of a 0.25 mum thick CrN base layer by reactive unbalanced magnetron sputtering to enhance the adhesion, and (iii) deposition of C/Cr coatings by unbalanced magnetron sputtering from three graphite targets and one chromium target at 260°C. The coatings were deposited at different bias voltages (U[B]) from -65 V to -550 V in a non-reactive Ar atmosphere. C/Cr coatings exhibit excellent adhesion (critical load, L[C] > 70 N), with hardness ranging from 6.8 to 25.1 GPa depending on the bias voltage. The friction coefficient of C/Cr coatings was found to reduce from 0.22 to 0.16 when the bias voltage was increased from U[B] = -65 to -95 V. The relevance of C/Cr coatings for actual practical applications was demonstrated using dry high-speed milling trials on automotive aluminium alloy (Al-Si8Cu3Fe). The results showed that C/Cr coated cemented carbide ball-nose end mills prepared at U[B] = -95 V (70 at.% C, 30 at.% Cr) enhance the tool performance and the tool life compared to the uncoated tools by a factor of two, suggesting the potential for use in dry high-speed machining of "sticky" alloys such as aluminum. Different film morphologies were observed in the investigated bias voltage range between U[B] = -65 and -550 V using XTEM. With increasing bias voltage from U[B] = -65 to -95 V, the structure changed from columnar, with carbon accumulated at the column boundaries, to a dense structure which comprised randomly distributed onionlike carbon clusters. A novel nanostructure was observed within this bias voltage range, in which the basic nano-lamellae obtained as a result of substrate rotation in front of the C and Cr targets were modified by an ion-irradiation induced nanocolumnar structure. Further increases in the bias voltage to U[B] = -350 V and U[B] = -450 V led to segregation and self-organisation of the carbon atoms induced by the high energy ion bombardment and, finally, to the formation of a new type of self-organised multilayer structure. A coating growth model accounting for the influence of ion bombardment on the growing C/Cr film was introduced to explain the phase separation and formation of the selforganised layered nanostructure. A novel experimental set-up for the investigation of tribocorrosion was built based on a modification of the conventional Scanning Reference Electrode Technique (SRET). The device comprises a ball on rotating cylinder contact configuration combined with a SRET electrochemical device. This combination may contribute significantly to the understanding of wear-corrosion synergism.
Supervisor: Hovsepian, Papken ; Akid, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available