Microstructural features of wear-resistant titanium nitride coatings deposited by different methods

Sergei V. Fortuna, Yurii P. Sharkeev, Anthony J. Perry, Jesse N. Matossian, Ivan A. Shulepov

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63 Citations (Scopus)


Titanium nitride, TiN, is used as wear protective and decorative coatings in various applications. These coatings are deposited by standard industrial methods such as chemical and physical vapor deposition (CVD and PVD, respectively), including magnetron sputtering or its modifications [e.g. the plasma-enhanced magnetron sputtered deposition (PMD) method]. The coatings have different microstructures (size and morphology of grains, orientation, dislocation structure, residual stress, etc.) depending on the method used and the deposition regime. The results of comparative transmission electron microscopy (TEM) investigations of the microstructure of thin TiN coatings deposited by classical CVD and PVD, including PMD, are presented. The microstructure was studied in sections perpendicular and parallel to the coating surface. The grain size was estimated from dark field images and the residual stress was determined using the bend extinction contours in the bright field images. It was found that the coatings deposited by PVD and CVD methods have different grain microstructures and residual stresses. The CVD coatings have an equiaxed microcrystalline structure with very low levels of the local residual stress. The mean grain size is 0.4-0.6 μm. The PVD coatings (Balzers and Metaplas) have a non-equilibrium submicron grain structure with a high level of the local residual stress equal to 0.06-0.08E, where E is Young's modulus, and a mean grain size of 0.1-0.2 μm in the section parallel to the coating surface. The PMD coating structure is highly non-equilibrium nanocrystalline, with a very high level of residual stress equal to 0.13E and a much finer grain size of 0.06 μm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-517
Number of pages6
JournalThin Solid Films
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

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