Surface engineering of a titanium alloy for tribological applications by nanosecond-pulsed laser
In many applications, surface engineering is needed in order to overcome the poor wear properties of titanium alloys. A fiber laser was used in different operation modes for remelting a Ti6Al4V surface and subsequently smoothing it again, resulting in a smooth, glossy and crack-free surface. The laser treated surface was characterized by tribological experiments, nanoindentation and (transmission) electron microscopy and compared to samples treated by plasma nitridation and thermal oxidation. All surface treatments improved the tribological behavior of Ti6Al4V to different extents. Nanoindentation measurements showed no strict correlation of mechanical properties and tribological behavior. It is hypothesized that apart from mechanical properties, binding of titanium electrons by interstitials plays a role in the occurrence or absence of adhesive wear.