Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Weikert T., Wartzack S., Baloglu M.V., Willner K., Gabel S., Merle B., Pineda F., Walczak M., Marian M., Rosenkranz A., Tremmel S. (2021)

Evaluation of the surface fatigue behavior of amorphous carbon coatings through cyclic nanoindentation

Revista : Surface and Coatings Technology
Volumen : 407
Páginas : 126769
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings, frequently used to reduce wear and friction in machine components as well as on forming tools, are often subjected to cyclic loading. Doping of DLC coatings with metals or metal carbides as well as the usage of multilayer architectures represent promising approaches to enhance toughness, which is beneficial for the coatings’ behavior under cyclic loading. In this study, we utilized cyclic nanoindentation to characterize the tribologically induced surface fatigue behavior of single-layer tungsten-doped (a-C:H:W) andmultilayer silicon oxide containing (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 amorphous carbon coatings under cyclic loading. Columnar growth was observed for both coatings by focused ion beam microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, while the multilayer architecture of the (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 coating was verified by the silicon content using glow-discharge optical emission spectroscopy. In cyclic nanoindentation of the (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 multilayer coating, stepwise small changes in indentation depth were observed over several indentationcycles. The surface fatigue process of the single-layer a-C:H:W covered a smaller number of indentation cycles and was characterized by an early steep increase of the static displacement signal. Microscopical analyses hint at grain deformation, sliding at columnar boundaries, and grain detachment as underlying fatigue mechanisms of the a-C:H:W coating, while the (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 multilayer coating showed transgranular crack propagation and gradual fracturing. In case of the (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 multilayer coating, superior indentation hardness (HIT) and indentation modulus (EIT) as well as a higher HI3T/EI2T ratio suggest a higher resistance to plastic deformation. A high HI3T/EI2T ratio, being an indicator for hindered crack initiation, combined with the capabilityof stress relaxation in soft layers contributed to the favorable surface fatigue behavior of the (a-C:H:Si:O/a-C:H)25 multilayer coating observed in this cyclic nanoindentation studies.