Hard coatings are deposited by physical vapor deposition techniques, i.e. cathodic arc evaporation and magnetron sputtering. The films often consist of transition metal nitrides, such as TiAlN or ZrAlN, with additions of other elements. Both monoliths and multilayers with various compositions can be obtained. The entire process is studied, from deposition processes and microstructure evolutions during the growth, to the effect of annealing and the wear mechanisms during the cutting operation. Advanced in- and ex-situ experimental characterization techniques including plasma diagnostics, traditional and synchrotron x-ray diffractometry, electron microscopy, atom probe tomography, nanoindentation, and thermo-analytical techniques are used.
The figure shows the phenomenological phase diagram of the influence of chemical composition and growth conditions of ZrAlN coatings.
The theroretical research is focusing on First principles calculations on phase stability and and elastic properties as well as Mesoscopic-scale modeling of the metal nitrides used as hard coating materials.
Mesoscopic-scale modeling in terms of phase-field simulations is carried out to study microstructure evolution. With input from First principles calculations and experiments, the impact of structural freedoms (3D vs 2D nanostructure, multilayers) on the elastic/mechanical properties of the coatings are investigated.
The figure shows phase field simulation of spinodal decomposition of TiAlN including effect of metal vacancies
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Last updated: 11/17/16