Microstructure characterization of advanced protective Cr/CrN+a-C:H/a-C:H:Cr multilayer coatings on carbon fibre composite (CFC)

Publikation aus Materials

Major, L., Janusz, M., Lackner, J.M., Kot, M., Major, B.

Journal of Microscopy, 262 (3), pp. 191-202 , 1/2016


Studies of advanced protective chromium-based coatings on the carbon fibre composite (CFC) were performed. Multidisciplinary examinations were carried out comprising: microstructure transmission electron microscopy (TEM, HREM) studies, micromechanical analysis and wear resistance. Coatings were prepared using a magnetron sputtering technique with application of high-purity chromium and carbon (graphite) targets deposited on the CFC substrate. Selection of the CFC for surface modification in respect to irregularities on the surface making the CFC surface more smooth was performed. Deposited coatings consisted of two parts. The inner part was responsible for the residual stress compensation and cracking initiation as well as resistance at elevated temperatures occurring namely during surgical tools sterilization process. The outer part was responsible for wear resistance properties and biocompatibility. Experimental studies revealed that irregularities on the substrate surface had a negative influence on the crystallites growth direction. Chromium implanted into the a-C:H structure reacted with carbon forming the cubic nanocrystal chromium carbides of the Cr23C6 type. The cracking was initiated at the coating/substrate interface and the energy of brittle cracking was reduced because of the plastic deformation at each Cr interlayer interface. The wear mechanism and cracking process was described in micro- and nanoscale by means of transmission electron microscope studies. Examined materials of coated CFC type would find applications in advanced surgical tools.