Pulsed laser deposition technique was applied for covering elastic cast-polyurethane membranes with titanium nitride and boron nitride layers. The deposition process was realized using a Nd:YAG laser with Qswitch in stages; firstly the membranes were coated with ultra-thin titanium nitride layer (TixN) by evaporation of a metallic titanium disk in nitrogen gas atmosphere and then a layer of boron nitride (BN) was deposited by ablation of hexagonal h-BN target in argon atmosphere. The surface morphology was observed by scanning electron microscopy. Chemical composition was analyzed by energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry. The phase analysis was performed by means of grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and attenuated total reflection infrared spectroscopy. The crystallographic texture was measured. The wear test was performed by pin-on-disk method. Hexagonal boron nitride layers with (0001)[uvtw] texture with flake-like grains were fabricated. The structure and texture of boron nitride was identical irrespectively of substrate roughness or BN thickness. Pin-on-disk wear tests showed that the coatings effectively decreased the friction coefficient from two to even four times comparing to pure polyurethane and polyurethane covered with graphite. This proved that deposited layers can replace graphite as a lubricating material used to protect polymer surfaces.
Mechanical components and tools in modern industry are facing increasing performance requirements leading to the growing need for advanced materials and thus, for modern frictional systems. In the last decades, the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) has emerged as an unique tool to grow high quality mono- as well as multilayers surfaces in metallic/ceramic systems. Building up a knowledge base of tribological properties of industrially-scaled, room temperature deposited PLD hard coatings are the most important step for the application of these coatings in engineering design. Although single-layer coatings find a range of applications, there are an increasing number of applications where the properties of a single material are not sufficient. One way to surmount this problem is to use a multilayer coating. Application of metallic interlayers improves adhesion of nitride hard layer in multilayer systems, which has been used in PVD processes for many years, however, the PLD technique gives new possibilities to produce system comprising many bilayers at room temperature. Tribological coatings consisted of 2, 4 and 16 bilayers of Cr/CrN and Ti/TiN type were fabricated with the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) technique in the presented work. It is found in transmission electron examinations on thin foils prepared from cross-section that both nitride-based multilayer structures studied are characterized by small columnar crystallite sizes and high defect density, what might rise their hardness but compromise coating adhesion. The intermediate metallic layers contained larger sized and less defective columnar structure compared to the nitride layers, which should improve the coatings toughness. Switching from single layer to multi-layer metal/nitride composition improved resistance to delamination.
Boron nitride thin layers were produced by means of the pulsed laser deposition technique from hexagonal boron nitride target. Two types of laser i.e. Nd:YAG with Q-switch as well as KrF coupled with RF generator were used. Influence of deposition parameters on surface morphology, phase composition as well as mechanical properties is discussed. Results obtained using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy, Transmission and Scanning Electron Microscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy are presented. Micromechanical properties measured during microindentation, scratch and wear tests are also shown.