Contact damage evolution in a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on a stainless steel substrate
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Engineering
A diamond-like carbon thin film was coated onto a stainless steel substrate using plasma assisted chemical vapour deposition (PACVD). Instrumented indentation and scratching were used, supported by focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy, to explore deformation and fracture behaviours of this coating system. The formation and growth of ring and radial cracks in the coating, as well as plastic flow in the ductile substrate, were observed to be the predominant deformation processes for this coating system. Lateral cracking occurred at the interface of the coating/substrate following indentation, but in the middle of the coating following scratching. No evidence of plastic flow within the coating was observed. Coating deformation is, therefore, controlled by its fracture energy. An indentation-energy-based model was applied to evaluate the fracture toughness of the coating.