The microstructure and mechanical properties of tantalum nitride coatings deposited by a plasma assisted bias sputtering deposition process
Place of Publication
School of Engineering
In this study, two tantalum nitride-based coatings were synthesized onto Ti-6Al-4V substrates with two different Ar/N2 flux ratios using a form of plasma assisted bias sputtering deposition termed the double cathode glow discharge deposition technique. Their microstructures and mechanical properties were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy and nanoindentation tests. At a low nitrogen partial pressure, the tantalum nitride coating consists of a hexagonal Ta2N phase, with a preferred (101) orientation, while at a high nitrogen partial pressure, the as-deposited coating is composed of a face-centered cubic (fcc) TaN phase with a strongly (200) oriented texture. The two as-deposited coatings exhibited striated nanostructured composed of equiaxed grains about ~ 10 nm in diameter, embedded with an array of homogenously distributed nanopores. The mechanical properties and damage resistance of the coatings were evaluated by nanoindentation techniques. The hardness and elastic modulus of the Ta2N coating was higher than those of the TaN coating, indicating that the Ta2N coating may offer better protection ability for the underlying metal substrate under load-bearing conditions. In addition, the presence of nanopores is beneficial to the contact damage resistance for both coatings. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.