Tribology Letters

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 563–572 | Cite as

Tribochemical Formation of Sulphide Tribofilms from a Ti–C–S Coating Sliding Against Different Counter Surfaces

  • Harald NybergEmail author
  • Jill Sundberg
  • Erik Särhammar
  • Tomas Nyberg
  • Ulf Jansson
  • Staffan Jacobson
Original Paper


Tribochemically active TiCS coatings are nanocomposite coatings containing a S-doped titanium carbide, from which S can be released in a tribological contact. This work studies tribochemical reactions between a TiCS coating and various counter surface materials, and their effect on the tribological performance. Tribological tests were performed in a ball-on-disc set-up, using balls of five different materials as sliding partners for the coating: 100Cr6 steel, pure W, WC, 316-L steel and Al2O3. For W balls, a WS2 tribofilm was formed, leading to low friction (down to µ = 0.06). Furthermore, increasing normal load on the W balls was found to lead to a strong decrease in µ and earlier formation of the low-friction WS2 tribofilm. Similar WS2 and MoS2 tribofilms were, however, not formed from WC- and Mo-containing 316-L balls. The performance when using WC and Al2O3 balls was significantly worse than for the two steel balls. It is suggested that this is due to sulphide formation from Fe, analogous to formation of anti-seizure tribofilms from S-containing extreme pressure additives and steel surfaces. The tribochemical activity of TiCS coatings, with the possibility of S release, is thus beneficial not only for pure W counter surfaces, but also for Fe-based sliding partners.


Triboactive Tribofilm WS2 Sulphide Low friction 



The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research is acknowledged for support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harald Nyberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jill Sundberg
    • 2
  • Erik Särhammar
    • 3
  • Tomas Nyberg
    • 3
  • Ulf Jansson
    • 2
  • Staffan Jacobson
    • 1
  1. 1.Tribomaterials Group, Department of Engineering SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Ångström Laboratory, Department of ChemistryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Thin Films Group, Department of Engineering SciencesUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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