Triboactive Low-Friction Coatings Based on Sulfides and Carbides
Sammanfattning: For sustainable development, it is highly important to limit the loss of energy and materials in machines used for transportation, manufacturing, and other purposes. Large improvements can be achieved by reducing friction and wear in machine elements, for example by the application of coatings. This work is focused on triboactive coatings, for which the outermost layer changes in tribological contacts to form so-called tribofilms. The coatings are deposited by magnetron sputtering (a physical vapor deposition method) and thoroughly chemically and structurally characterized, often theoretically modelled, and tribologically evaluated, to study the connection between the composition, structure and tribological performance of the coatings.Tungsten disulfide, WS2, is a layered material with the possibility of ultra-low friction. This work presents a number of nanocomposite or amorphous coatings based on WS2, which combine the low friction with improved mechanical properties. Addition of N can give amorphous coatings consisting of a network of W, S and N with N2 molecules in nanometer-sized pockets, or lead to the formation of a metastable cubic tungsten nitride. Co-deposition with C can also give amorphous coatings, or nanocomposites with WSx grains in an amorphous C-based matrix. Further increase in coating hardness is achieved by adding both C and Ti, forming titanium carbide. All the WS2-based materials can provide very low friction (down to µ<0.02) by the formation of WS2 tribofilms, but the performance is dependent on the atmosphere as O2 and H2O can be detrimental to the tribofilm functionality.Another possibility is to form low-friction tribofilms by tribochemical reactions between the two surfaces in contact. Addition of S to TiC/a-C nanocomposite coatings leads to the formation of a metastable S-doped carbide phase, TiCxSy, from which S can be released. This enables the formation of low-friction WS2 tribofilms when a Ti-C-S coating is run against a W counter-surface. Reduced friction, at a moderate level, also occurs for steel counter-surfaces, likely due to formation of beneficial iron sulfide tribofilms.The studied coatings, whether based on WS2 or TiC, are thus triboactive, with the ability to form low-friction tribofilms in a sliding contact.
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