Enhancing the adhesion strength and wear resistance of nanostructured NiCrN coatings
Applied Surface Science
School of Engineering
Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship Australian Research Council Discovery Project
ARC Number : DP200103152
© 2020 Elsevier B.V. NiCrN coatings, with varying Ni contents, were deposited on AISI M2 tool steel substrates using closed field unbalanced magnetron sputtering ion plating (CFUMSIP) where the NiCr target current (INiCr) was varied. An evolution of the graded columnar structures was found in these coatings, where increased incorporation of nickel induced grain refinement, as well as a reduction in values of both hardness (H), elastic modulus (Er) and elastic recovery (We). The influence of variations in the microstructure and mechanical properties on the adhesion behaviour and tribological performance of these NiCrN coatings was investigated. Scratch test results demonstrated that higher critical loads (Lc1 and Lc2) suppressed both cohesive and adhesive failure in coatings which exhibited higher values of H/Er, H3/Er2 and We. The failure mode under progressive scratch loading was controlled by the hierarchical design of the NiCrN coatings that enhanced adhesion and prevented crack propagation through the coating. For the coatings with lower Ni contents improved wear resistance was ascribed to not only higher H/Er, H3/Er2 and We values of these coatings, but also the graded interlayers that delocalised the stress distribution during dry sliding.