Growth of WC-Cr-N and WC-Al-N coatings in a RF-magnetron sputtering process
TypeChapitres d'ouvrages scientifiques
Tungsten carbide-based coatings have been used in a wide variety of industrial applications such as high speed cutting tools, extrusion dies, drills, aerospace industries, and more. A few reports on ternary and quaternary coatings of WC with other elements indicate good prospects for these material systems. The present study focuses on the formation of quaternary WCeCreN and WCeAleN coatings during the simultaneous reactive RF-magnetron sputtering of tungsten carbide and Al or Cr targets in an argon/nitrogen gas mixture. The resulting coatings, with thicknesses of 3.5 mme8.2 mm, were characterized by using several analytical techniques including X-ray diffraction, SEM/EDS, AFM, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. WCeCreN and WCeAleN coatings with high levels of tungsten (i.e. more than 50 at.% of the total metal content) demonstrated dense microstructure. Coatings with lower tungsten content formed columnar grain microstructure, with different surface morphologies depending on the process parameters. It was proposed that crystalline tungsten carbide (with partial N-substitution of C atoms) and chromium (or aluminum) nitride phases coexist in the coatings when the amount of tungsten was greater than 50 at.% of the total metal content; while at lower tungsten content, the dominating crystalline phase is either W-doped CrN1 y or AlN1 y solid solution, with WC1 x and small amounts of free sp2-bonded carbon present as X-ray amorphous phases.
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