Structural, mechanical and tribological properties of nanostructured CNx/TiN multilayers

Anand Vyas, K. Y. Li, Y. G. Shen

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Nanostructured CNx/TiN multilayers were deposited onto Si(1 0 0) and M42 high-speed steel substrates using closed-filed unbalanced magnetron sputtering. The deposition process was controlled by a closed-loop optical emission monitor (OEM) to regulate the flow of N2 gas. Different carbon nitride ΛCNx layer thicknesses could be attained by varying the C target current (0.5-2.0 A). OEM settings and bilayer thickness periods (i.e. ΛCNx = 0.3 - 1.2 nm, while ΛTiN=3.0 nm) significantly affected the mechanical and tribological properties of CNx/TiN multilayer films. XPS analyses revealed that the chemical states, such as TiN, TiC, TiNxOy ???????????and TiO2, existed in a TiN layer. The nanohardness of the film with bilayer thickness ΛTiN=3.0 nm and ΛCNx = 0.9 nm was ∼41.0 GPa. The residual compressive stress was found to be between 1.5 and 3.0 GPa. By the scratch test, the critical load value obtained was high ∼78 N. Rockwell-C adhesion tests exhibited the best adhesion and cohesive strength for multilayers with ΛTiN=3.0 nm, ΛCNx = 0.3 and 0.6 nm. The friction coefficient of a multilayer was found to be low 0.11. Lower frictional coefficients and wear rates were the consequences of the increase in ΛCNx, which provided a lubricating function in the multilayers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-806
Number of pages9
JournalTribology International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Adhesion
  • Friction coefficient
  • Hardness


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