Self-forming TiBN Nanocomposite Multilayer Coating Prepared by Pulse Cathode Arc Method
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 3 June 2016
Accepted: 21 July 2016
Published: 27 July 2016
Novel multilayer structured TiBN coatings were deposited on Si (100) substrate using TiBN complex cathode plasma immersion ion implantation and deposition technique (PIIID). The coatings were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), high-resolution transmission electron microcopy (HRTEM), energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS) and ball-on-disk test. XRD results reveal that both samples of TiBN coatings have the main diffraction peak of TiN (200) and (220). Cross-section TEM images reveal that these coatings have the character of self-forming multilayer and consists of face-centered cubic TiN and hexagonal BN nanocrystalline embedded in amorphous matrix. Because of the existence of hexagonal BN, the friction coefficient of the new TiBN coating in room temperature is obviously lower than that of the monolithic TiN nanocrystalline coating.
For high-speed precision instruments in aerospace and other high-tech fields, reducing the heat yield of the device is the basis for work piece stability . Surface modification technology can significantly improve the surface performance with micro size decals while containing mechanical properties of the matrix [2–4]. Solid lubrication materials, such as MoS2, V2O5, DLC, and WS2, have been developed and widely applied in satellite, spaceship, aerospace equipment, and the space station [5–11]. However, few of these coating systems have the capacity of containing low coefficient in a high-temperature condition , while more and more industrial parts especially high accuracy bearings require low friction performance under the condition of high temperature in the field of aerospace.
Previous studies in the literature are mainly using the method of increasing B element to the coatings and the main purpose is to form cubic BN (c-BN) or hexagonal TiB2 phases, which can effectively improve the hardness of the film [13, 14]. Some authors have synthesized TiBN/Ti(B)CN/WBN coatings with high hardness (≥30 GPa) for the reason of forming the main alloy phase of h-TiB2 or c-BN phase [15–18]. Because of its stable performance under high-temperature conditions and the good lubrication properties like graphite, h-BN has great potential in solid lubrication material development [19, 20]. Combined with these properties, we want to use the h-BN as the cathode directly and using the PIIID technology to form the TiBN coating including the phase of h-BN as the solid lubrication phase.
In this work, a novel TiBN nanocomposite multilayer TiBN coating containing nanoscale crystals was fabricated on a single silicon substrate by a PIIID technique. In order to characterize and understand the structure/composition relationship in the TiBN coating, the nanostructure and hexagon BN phase were examined by high-resolution transmission electron microcopy (HRTEM) in the newly developed coating, which have the capacity of containing low coefficient in high-temperature condition.
Ternary TiBN coating was deposited onto polished single Si (100) substrates by using PIIID equipped with a TiBN complex cathode and is composed of the desired implanting and deposition material. Synthesis of the TiBN complex cathode target was conducted by powder metallurgy technology. The composition of the target with the weight percentage h-BN of 8, 30 to the Ti powder and then being forged under the pressure of 83 MPa and annealed at 1050 °C in a vacuum container. The base pressure in the chamber was 5 × 10−3 Pa, and the working pressure was 3 × 10−1 Pa during implantation and deposition. Synthesis of the TiBN coating was conducted in a flowing N2 gas, with an N2 ratio of 50 sccm. The substrate temperature was below 200 °C during the coating deposition. A pulsed bias with a voltage of 20 kV, a repetition frequency of 50 Hz, and a pulse duration time of 60 μs were applied on the substrate during the PIIID process. The parallel distance between the source and the substrate was 15 mm. The total implantation and deposition time was 4 h and the coating thickness was about 500 nm.
The as-deposited coatings were characterized by ultra-high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM JEM-3000F) with an acceleration voltage of 300 keV, energy-dispersive spectrometer (EDS, Bruker EDS QUANTAX), and X-ray diffraction at a grazing angle of 1° (XRD, Empyrean) with a Cu-Kα radiation source at 40 kV and 40 mA. Specimens for cross-sectional TEM were prepared using the procedure of Helmerson and Sundgren . The tribological properties of the TiBN coating were evaluated using a ball-on-disk tester with a linear velocity of 0.05 m/s. The tests were carried out under dry running conditions of a ф6.3 mm Si3N4 ball and a load of 30 g with the friction radius of 2 mm for 10 min. The revolution speed setting is 600 rpm.
Results and Discussion
Compositions of the as-deposited coatings as determined by EDS
At the process of the coating formation in the PIIID technology, ion bombardment the substrate when the pulse high voltage act on it, the sample temperature began to rise sharply, the crystallization temperature when the temperature reached after the film in the part of amorphous crystallization, so a part of the nanocrystalline, until the temperature balance, crystallization in balance, in addition, B ion doping will be very good fine grains. With the above reasons we know that the h-BN had double influence on the deposit the TiBN coatings.
To render the coating low coefficient, the hexagonal BN added in the coating act as a solid lubricate that decrease shear band propagation in the adjacent layers while, at the same time, facilitating the formation of controlled shear bands within themselves. In addition, B+ can effectively refine the grain size and the density of film but also to the oxidation resistance of membrane and the improvement of the performance of the friction. Amorphous BN nanocrystalline layers play a part in enhancing the ductility of the TiBN coating. Consequently, the TiBN coating exhibits a unique combination of low coefficient in high temperature comparison to the monolithic TiN and TiAlN nanocrystalline coatings. It is anticipated that the newly developed coating could be used for aerospace equipment and the space station applications where high coefficient is not tolerated.
In summary, a novel multilayer structured Ti-B-N coating is deposited on a single Si (100) wafer substrate by a PIIID technique. The newly developed coating consists of vertically aligned, alternating nanocrystalline TiN, BN, and amorphous layers. It exhibits low coefficient in room-temperature conditions, due to the hexagonal BN phase and nanocomplex composition structure. The improved performance was found to be derived from the self-forming multilayer properties and the h-BN solid lubrication effects in the coating.
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21573054, 21327002, and 51401201), Joint Funds Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. U1537214), State Key Program of National Natural Science of China (No. 51535003), and Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (No. B07018).
All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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