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Toughness enhancement in zirconium-tungsten-nitride nanocrystalline hard coatings
Fengyuan Lu, Mengbing Huang, Faisal Yaqoob, Maik Lang, Fereydoon Namavar, Christina Trautmann, Hongtao Sun, Rodney C. Ewing, and Jie Lian, Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 041904 (2012).
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An approach is presented to increase the toughness (KIC) while retaining high hardness (H) of Zr-W-N nanocrystalline coatings using energetic ions bombardment. Tuning KIC and H values was made possible by a careful control over the substrate bias, i.e., the kinetic energy (Uk∼9-99 J/cm3) of the bombarding ions, while keeping the deposition temperature relatively low (200 oC). Structural and mechanical characterization revealed a maximum wear resistance (H/Er∼0.23) and fracture toughness (KIC∼2.25 MPa) of ZrWN coatings at Uk∼72 J/cm3. A direct Uk-microstructure-KIC-H relationship suggests that tailoring mechanical properties for a given application is possible by tuning Uk and, hence, ZrWN-coatings’ microstructure.
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