Stoichiometry, phase composition, and properties of superhard nanostructured Ti-Hf-Si-N coatings obtained by deposition from high-frequency vacuum-arc discharge
Superhard nanostructured Ti-Hf-Si-N coatings (films) possessing high mechanical properties were obtained by deposition from high-frequency vacuum-arc discharge. The elemental and phase composition and morphology of the films were studied by a combination of methods including RBS, SIMS, GDMS, SEM-EDXS, XRD and nanoindentation techniques at various pressures and bias voltages applied to the coated samples. It is established that, as the average grain size in nc-(Ti,Hf)N (nanocrystalline) coatings decreases from 6.7 to 5 nm and a-Si3N4 (amophous or quasi-amorphous phase) interlayers are formed between the nanograins, the nanohardness of coatings increases from 42.7 to 48.4–1.6 GPa. However, the further grain refinement of nc-(Ti,Hf)N to 4.0 nm leads to a slight decrease in the nanohardness. The stoichiometry of the coatings changes from (Ti25-Hf12.5-Si12.5)N50 to (Ti28-Hf18-Si9)N45, which is accompanied by variation of the lattice parameter of (Ti,Hf)N solid solution grains.
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