The nanostructure, wear and corrosion performance of arc-evaporated CrBxNy nanocomposite coatings

K. Polychronopoulou, M. A. Baker, C. Rebholz, J. Neidhardt, M. O'Sullivan, A. E. Reiter, K. Kanakis, A. Leyland, A. Matthews, C. Mitterer

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The composition, nanostructure, tribological and corrosion behaviour of reactive arc evaporated CrBxNy coatings have been studied and compared to CrN. The CrBxNy coatings were deposited on a commercial Oerlikon Balzers RCS coating system employing 80:20 Cr:B targets. To vary the composition, the nitrogen fraction was adjusted (N2 fraction = N2/(Ar + N2)) and a moderate bias voltage of - 20 V was applied during coating growth. The coating composition and nanostructure was determined using time-of-flight elastic recoil detection analysis (TOF-ERDA), x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Ball-on-disc dry sliding wear tests were conducted using an alumina ball counterface both at room temperature and at 500 °C with the relative humidity controlled at 20%. Potentiodynamic corrosion tests were undertaken in 3.5% NaCl aqueous solution. The wear tracks were examined using optical profilometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM); the surface composition inside and outside of the wear tracks were investigated using Raman spectroscopy and XPS. All coatings exhibit nanocomposite structures and phase compositions which are in fair agreement with those expected from the equilibrium phase diagram. The lowest wear rate at room temperature and 500 °C was found for CrB0.14N1.14, which was shown to exhibit the highest hardness and possesses a nanocomposite nc-CrN/a-BN structure. CrB0.12N0.84 coatings showed the lowest passive current density in potentiodynamic corrosion tests.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 25 Oct 2009


  • Corrosion
  • Hard coatings
  • Raman
  • SEM
  • Wear
  • XPS


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