The adhesion of amorphous hydrogenated carbon (a-C:H) films deposited in a radio frequency (r.f.) plasma discharge on stainless steel, alumina and cemented carbide with different intermediate layers (Ni, Ti and TiC) and sputter cleaning procedures was studied. The composition of the carbon films and the intermediate layers as well as the interface between the coating and the substrate was determined by secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). The adhesion experiments were carried out using a scratch tester. Tested specimens were also studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to reveal the morphology of the coatings and the scratches.
Without any intermediate layer, the a-C:H coatings generally had insufficient adhesion to the substrate materials studied. For stainless steel and cemented carbide substrates, the TiC intermediate layer and, for alumina substrates, the titanium intermediate layer gave the best adhesion values evaluated by the scratch test. Also, the sputter cleaning of the substrates prior to deposition was necessary for sufficient adhesion of the coating. The intermediate layers also change the failure mode of the coating in the scratch test in some cases.
- coating adhesion
- intermediate layers