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Wear of carbon nitride coatings under oscillating sliding conditions

: Wäsche, R.; Hartelt, M.; Springborn, U.; Bewilogua, K.; Keunecke, M.


Wear 269 (2010), No.11/12, pp.816-825
ISSN: 0043-1648
ISSN: 1873-2577
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IST ()
carbon nitride; wear; fretting; dry sliding; paraffin oil

An extended study on tribological properties of carbon nitride coatings under oscillating sliding conditions has been carried out. The coatings were prepared by reactive magnetron sputtering with graphite target using nitrogen as reactive gas in an argon/nitrogen atmosphere during the deposition process to deposit carbon nitride, CNx. Coating thickness was about 2 µm. A 200-300 nm thick Ti interlayer was used to enhance adhesion. The nitrogen flow during the deposition was varied to control the amount of nitrogen in the coating. Maximum amount of N-content was about 28 at%, achieved at a maximum N2 flow rate. Other deposition parameters were target to substrate distance, substrate temperature during deposition and bias voltage. The results show a large variation of hardness depending mainly on the nitrogen content and bias voltage. Higher bias voltage produced harder coatings as did lower nitrogen content. The tribological properties were tested unlubricated and lubricated by paraffin oil under gross slip fretting conditions at room temperature against alumina as counter material. Most coatings, but not all, showed a more or less pronounced dependence of wear on relative humidity with wear rates from 10-5 to 10-T6mm3/Nm. The best coatings with regard to a low wear rate and the least dependence upon relative humidity were carbon nitride coatings deposited at elevated substrate temperatures up to 350 °C. The wear resistance of these coatings was increased under the most severe conditions by about one order of magnitude. The results are discussed on the basis of a transfer layer formation. The results show clearly that wear is not significantly correlated to the coating hardness which itself is strongly dependant on the nitrogen content. However, under lubricated conditions with paraffin oil, wear rates were generally very low with wear coefficients at about 10-8mm3/Nm.