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Performance of HIPIMS deposited CrN/NbN nanostructured coatings exposed to 650 °C in pure steam environment

: Hovsepian, P.E.; Ehiasarian, A.P.; Purandare, Y.P.; Biswas, B.; Pérez, F.J.; Lasanta, M.I.; De Miguel, M.T.; Illana, A.; Juez-Lorenzo, M.; Muelas, R.; Agüero, A.


Materials chemistry and physics 179 (2016), S.110-119
ISSN: 0254-0584
Fraunhofer ICT ()

In the current work, 4 μm thick CrN/NbN coating utilising nanoscale multilayer structure with bi-layer thickness of Δ = 2.9 nm has been used to protect 9 wt% Cr steels such as P92 widely used in steam power plants. The uniquely layered coatings have a combination of nitrides of chromium and niobium which are not only resistant to aqueous corrosion and corrosion-erosion and have excellent tribological properties, but also have oxidation resistance in dry air up to a temperature of 850 °C. The novel High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS) deposition technology has been used to deposit CrN/NbN with enhanced adhesion (critical load of scratch adhesion LC2 = 80 N) and a very dense microstructure as demonstrated by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) imaging. These superior coating properties are achieved due to the unique high metal ion content (up to 90%) in the HIPIMS plasma, which allows particle acceleration and trajectory control by external electrical and magnetic fields thus delivering highly energetic material flux on the condensing surface.

P92 bare and coated samples were oxidised at 650 °C in 100% steam atmosphere up to 2000 h, in order to simulate the future operation conditions of steam turbines employed in power plants. The oxidation kinetics was evaluated by mass gain measurements. Under these conditions CrN/NbN provided reliable protection of the P92 steel. The paper also discusses the effect of growth defects and high temperature crack formation analysed by Scanning Electron Microscopy and Focused Ion Beam-Scanning Electron Microscopy techniques (SEM and FIB-SEM, respectively) on the high temperature corrosion resistance in pure steam atmosphere thus revealing the coatings potential failure mechanisms.