In recent years TiN/CrN multilayered PVD coatings are well known for their unique properties like high hardness and good wear resistance. Large number of studies has been reported, mainly focused on tribology characterization as well as detailed TEM analysis of interfaces. On the other hand, information on the correct determination of the fracture toughness and contact damage is rather scarce. A deeper knowledge is crucial to improve the performance of these materials and to enhance the lifetime of coated systems.
The present work aims to conduct a systematic micro- and nanomechanical study of the mechanical integrity of multilayer TiN/CrN systems with different bilayer periods (8, 19 and 25 nm). In doing so, nanoindentation technique is implemented and corresponding deformation/damage mechanisms are also investigated. Work includes the evaluation of the interfacial strength response as well as the determination of the strength and fracture toughness as a function of the bilayer period through ex-situ tests by FIB-milling micro-pillars and micro-cantilevers for each multilayer TiN/CrN system.
It is found that the data extracted through ex-situ tests under different stress fields and damage scenarios for the multilayer approach is quite effective on promoting crack growth resistance mechanisms; thus, damage tolerance is clearly enhanced, as compared to the one exhibited by the single layer ones.
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