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

Weikert T, Wartzack S, Baloglu MV, Willner K, Gabel S, Merle B, Pineda F, Walczak M, Marian M, Rosenkranz A, Tremmel S (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article, Original article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 407

Article Number: 126769

URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0257897220314390

DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2020.126769


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) and multilayer 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 indentation cycles. 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 HIT3/EIT2 ratio suggest a higher resistance to plastic deformation. A high HIT3/EIT2 ratio, being an indicator for hindered crack initiation, combined with the capability of 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.

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Weikert, T., Wartzack, S., Baloglu, M.V., Willner, K., Gabel, S., Merle, B.,... Tremmel, S. (2021). Evaluation of the surface fatigue behavior of amorphous carbon coatings through cyclic nanoindentation. Surface & Coatings Technology, 407. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.surfcoat.2020.126769


Weikert, Tim, et al. "Evaluation of the surface fatigue behavior of amorphous carbon coatings through cyclic nanoindentation." Surface & Coatings Technology 407 (2021).

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