Fracture toughness and sliding properties of magnetron sputtered CrBC and CrBCN coatings

Qianzhi Wang, Fei Zhou, Qiang Ma, Mauro Callisti, Tomas Polcar, Jiwang Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


CrBC and CrBCN coatings with low and high B contents were deposited on 316L steel and Si wafers using an unbalanced magnetron sputtering system. Mechanical properties including hardness (H), elastic modulus (E) and fracture toughness (K Ic ) as well as residual stresses (σ) were quantified. A clear correlation between structural, mechanical and tribological properties of coatings was found. In particular, structural analyses indicated that N incorporation in CrBC coatings with high B content caused a significant structural evolution of the nanocomposite structure (crystalline grains embedded into an amorphous matrix) from nc-CrB 2 /(a-CrB x , a-BC x ) to nc-CrN/(a-BC x , a-BN). As a result, the hardness of CrBC coating with high B content decreased from 23.4 to 16.3 GPa but the fracture toughness was enhanced. Consequently, less cracks initiated on CrBCN coatings during tribological tests, which combined with the shielding effect of a-BN on wear debris, led to a low friction coefficient and wear rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-643
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 15


  • Ceramic bearings
  • CrBCN
  • Fracture toughness
  • Sliding properties
  • Wear mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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