Tribology Letters

, 66:137 | Cite as

Structural, Mechanical, and Tribological Properties of WS2-Al Nanocomposite Film for Space Application

  • Xiaoming Gao
  • Yanlong Fu
  • Dong Jiang
  • Desheng Wang
  • Jun Yang
  • Lijun Weng
  • Ming HuEmail author
  • Jiayi SunEmail author
Original Paper


In this paper, WS2-Al nanocomposite films were deposited by closed-field unbalanced magnetron sputtering to improve the microstructure and wear resistance of pure WS2 film. Results revealed that pure WS2 film presented a columnar microstructure, but the growth of WS2 platelets could be significantly suppressed by doping Al. Correspondingly, the WS2-Al composite film showed a dense fiber-like microstructure at low Al content (~ 3 at.%) and a featureless one at higher Al content (~ 6–12 at.%). The film densification resulted in a significantly improved hardness from ~ 0.3 GPa for pure WS2 film to 2.9 GPa for WS2-3 at.% Al film and to 4.7–5.7 GPa for WS2 composite films with higher Al contents of ~ 6–12 at.%, but the composite films with higher Al contents were brittle. As a result, only the composite film with Al content of ~ 3 at.% exhibited a much better wear resistance than pure WS2 film. In vacuum environment, the wear life of WS2-3 at.% Al composite film about 1.5 × 106 cycles was much higher than that of pure WS2 film ~ 6.5 × 105 cycles, exhibiting a potential application in space technology.


WS2-Al nanocomposite films Microstructure Tribology Vacuum 



The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by China National Natural Science Foundation (Grant Nos. 51575508 and 51575509).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Solid Lubrication, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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