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Investigation of the nanostructure and wear properties of physical vapor deposited CrCuN nanocomposite coatings

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6 Author(s)
Baker, M.A. ; School of Engineering, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, United Kingdom ; Kench, P.J. ; Tsotsos, C. ; Gibson, P.N.
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This article presents results on CrCuN nanocomposite coatings grown by physical vapor deposition. The immiscibility of Cr (containing a supersaturation of nitrogen) and Cu offers the potential of depositing a predominantly metallic (and therefore tough) nanocomposite, composed of small Cr(N) metallic and/or β-Cr2N ceramic grains interdispersed in a (minority) Cu matrix. A range of CrCuN compositions have been deposited using a hot-filament enhanced unbalanced magnetron sputtering system. The stoichiometry and nanostructure have been studied by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and x-ray diffraction. Hardness, wear resistance, and impact resistance have been determined by nanoindentation, reciprocating-sliding, and ball-on-plate high-cycle impact. Evolution of the nanostructure as a function of composition and correlations of the nanostructure and mechanical properties of the CrCuN coatings are discussed. A nanostructure comprised of 1–3 nm α-Cr(N) and β-Cr2N grains separated by intergranular regions of Cu gives rise to a coating with significantly enhanced resistance to impact wear.

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Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces, and Films  (Volume:23 ,  Issue: 3 )