Electro-tribological properties of diamond like carbon coatings


Diamond like carbon (DLC) coatings typically present good self-lubricating tribological properties that could be of interest in sliding dielectric contacts in multiple electrical applications. In this work electro-tribological studies have been performed on several DLC coatings against aluminum in different humidity conditions, in which the coefficients of friction (CoFs) and electrical contact resistance (ECR) were continuously monitored. Results show that CoF and ECR data can be linked to the properties of the coatings (thickness, finishing, microstructure, residual stresses, and wettability) and the degradation modes of their tribological and electrical properties. Therefore, electro-tribological data can provide valuable information about the performance of dielectric coatings, the reasons behind it, and assist in the development of the coatings. ECR also shows potential for on-line monitoring of coated parts in operation.


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This work was financially supported by FUTURE GRIDS-2020, Frontiers, and nG-17 projects (Elkartek, Economic Development Department at the Basque Government).

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Correspondence to Iñigo Braceras.

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Iñigo BRACERAS. He received his M.S. in industrial (electrical) engineering from University of Navarra (Spain) in 1994, and his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from University of the Basque Country (Spain) in 2019. He joined the surface engineering group at Tecnalia in 1997, where his current position in senior researcher and project manager. His research areas cover the development, analyses and monitoring of surface treatments and coatings with tribological, protective and functional properties for industrial, transport, energy, and biomedical applications.

Iñigo IBÁÑEZ. He received his technician at chemical industry processes and laboratory technician degrees from the Paper Technical Engineering School, Tolosa (Spain) in 2001 and 2008, respectively. His current position is head of the Surface Engineering Laboratory at Tecnalia. His research interests are plasma-based surface treatments, thin film deposition, surface characterization and analyses, and tribological studies.

Santiago DOMINGUEZ-MEISTER. He received his M.S. in physics degree from the University of Zaragoza (Spain) in 2008, and his Ph.D. degree on materials sciences from the University of Sevilla (Spain) in 2013. His current position is researcher in the surface engineering group at Tecnalia. His research areas cover the development of surface treatments and thin films, as well as the study of their tribological properties.

Xabier VELASCO. He received his bachelor degree in electrical engineering in 2015 from University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain). Likewise, he received his M.S. in renewable materials engineering in 2016 in the same University. His research interests are electro-tribological studies and dielectric spectroscopy of thin films made of nanocomposites of polymeric and metallic nanoparticles.

Marta BRIZUELA. She received her M.S. degree in physics from the University of Valladolid (Spain) in 1997, and her Ph.D. degree in physics science from the University of the Basque Country (Spain) in 2009. Her current position is head of surface engineering group within the materials group for Energy and Environment department at Tecnalia. Her research areas cover thin films development (plasma assisted technologies) for different applications (wear, corrosion protection, and functional properties).

Iñaki GARMENDIA. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from University of Navarra (Spain) in 1987 and 1994, respectively. He worked for Inasmet-Tecnalia, a materials research center, from 1998 to 2010 mainly in the field of computational modeling and materials. In 2010 he joined the Mechanical Engineering Department of the University of the Basque Country as a full-time lecturer. His research interests are numerical simulation of materials processes, electro-tribological modeling, and space thermal control.

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Braceras, I., Ibáñez, I., Dominguez-Meister, S. et al. Electro-tribological properties of diamond like carbon coatings. Friction 8, 451–461 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40544-019-0286-2

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  • DLC
  • electro-tribology
  • ECR–electrical contact resistance
  • coefficient of friction