Surface modification of Al by high-intensity low-energy Ti-ion implantation: Microstructure, mechanical and tribological properties

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A high-intensity metal ribbon ion beam was generated using plasma immersion extraction and the acceleration of the metal ions with their subsequent ballistic focusing using a cylindrical grid electrode under a repetitively pulsed bias. To generate the dense metal plasma flow, two water-cooled vacuum arc evaporators with Ti cathodes were used. The ion current density reached 43 mA/cm 2 at the arc discharge current of 130 A. High-intensity ion implantation (HIII)with a low ion energy ribbon beam was used for the surface modification of the aluminium. The irradiation fluence was changed from 1.5 × 10 20 ion/cm 2 to 4 × 10 20 ion/cm 2 with a corresponding increase in the implantation temperature from 623 to 823 K. The structure and composition of the Ti-implanted aluminium were studied using X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM)and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDX). The mechanical properties and wear resistance were measured using nanoindentation and “pin-on-disk” testing, respectively. It was shown that the HIII method can be used to form a deep intermetallic Al 3 Ti layer. It has been established that a thin (0.4 μm)modified layer with a hcp Ti(Al)structure is only formed on the surface at 623 K, while the formation of the ordered Al 3 Ti intermetallic phase occurs at the implantation temperatures of 723 and 823 K. Despite the significant ion sputtering of the surface, the thickness of the modified layer increases from ~1 μm to ~6 μm, and the implantation temperature rises from 723 to 823 K. It was found that the homogeneous intermetallic Al 3 Ti layer with a thickness of up to 5 μm was formed at 823 К. The mechanical and tribological properties of the aluminium were substantially improved after HIII. For the Ti-implanted aluminium, the hardness of the surface layer increases from 0.4 GPa (undoped Al)to 3.5–4 GPa, while the wear resistance increases by more than an order of magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2019


  • Aluminium
  • Intermetallics
  • Ion implantation
  • Ribbon ion beam
  • Surface modification
  • Titanium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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