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Toughness Enhancement in Hard Ceramic Thin Films by Alloy Design
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Grupo de Capas Finas e Ingeniería de Superficies, Facultad de Física, Dep. Física Aplicada y Óptica, Universidad de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
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2013 (English)In: APL MATERIALS, ISSN 2166-532X, Vol. 1, no 4, 042104- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hardness is an essential property for a wide range of applications. However, hardness alone, typically accompanied by brittleness, is not sufficient to prevent failure in ceramic films exposed to high stresses. Using VN as a model system, we demonstrate with experiment and density functional theory (DFT) that refractory VMoN alloys exhibit not only enhanced hardness, but dramatically increased ductility. V0.5Mo0.5N hardness is 25% higher than that of VN. In addition, while nanoindented VN, as well as TiN reference samples, suffer from severe cracking typical of brittle ceramics, V0.5Mo0.5N films do not crack. Instead, they exhibit material pile-up around nanoindents, characteristic of plastic flow in ductile materials. Moreover, the wear resistance of V0.5Mo0.5N is considerably higher than that of VN. DFT results show that tuning the occupancy of d-t2g metallic bonding states in VMoN facilitates dislocation glide, and hence enhances toughness, via the formation of stronger metal/metal bonds along the slip direction and weaker metal/N bonds across the slip plane.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2013. Vol. 1, no 4, 042104- p.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91373DOI: 10.1063/1.4822440ISI: 000332277600006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-91373DiVA: diva2:617401
Available from: 2013-04-23 Created: 2013-04-23 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Transition Metal Nitrides: Alloy Design and Surface Transport Properties using Ab-initio and Classical Computational Methods
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transition Metal Nitrides: Alloy Design and Surface Transport Properties using Ab-initio and Classical Computational Methods
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Enhanced toughness in brittle ceramic materials, such as transition metal nitrides (TMN), is achieved by optimizing the occupancy of shear-sensitive metallic electronic-states. This is the major result of my theoretical research, aimed to solve an inherent long-standing problem for hard ceramic protective coatings: brittleness. High hardness, in combination with high toughness, is thus one of the most desired mechanical/physical properties in modern coatings. A significant part of this PhD Thesis is dedicated to the density functional theory (DFT) calculations carried out to understand the electronic origins of ductility, and to predict novel TMN alloys with optimal hardness/toughness ratios. Importantly, one of the TMN alloys identified in my theoretical work has subsequently been synthesized in the laboratory and exhibits the predicted properties.

The second part of this Thesis concerns molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of Ti, N, and TiNx adspecies diffusion on TiN surfaces, chosen as a model material, to provide unprecedented detail of critical atomic-scale transport processes, which dictate the growth modes of TMN thin films. Even the most advanced experimental techniques cannot provide sufficient information on the kinetics and dynamics of picosecond atomistic processes, which affect thin films nucleation and growth. Information on these phenomena would allow experimentalists to better understand the role of deposition conditions and fine tune thin films growth modes, to tailor coatings properties to the requirements of different applications. The MD simulations discussed in the second part of this PhD Thesis, predict that Ti adatoms and TiN2 admolecules are the most mobile species on TiN(001) terraces. Moreover, these adspecies are rapidly incorporated at island descending steps, and primarily contribute to layer-by-layer growth. In contrast, TiN3 tetramers are found to be essentially stationary on both TiN(001) terraces and islands, and thus constitute the critical nuclei for three-dimensional growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 75 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1513
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91379 (URN)978-91-7519-638-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-23, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-23 Created: 2013-04-23 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved
2. Toughness Enhancement in Hard Single-Crystal Transition-Metal Nitrides: V-Mo-N and V-W-N Alloys
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toughness Enhancement in Hard Single-Crystal Transition-Metal Nitrides: V-Mo-N and V-W-N Alloys
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transition-metal nitrides are known for their high hardness, good wear resistance, high-temperature stability, and chemical inertness. Because of these properties, they are extensively used in many industrial applications, notably as protective wear, erosion, and scratch resistant coatings, which are often subjected to high thermo-mechanical stresses. While high hardness is essential, most applications also require high ductility, to avoid brittle failure due to cracking. However, transitionmetal nitrides, as most ceramics, generally exhibit low ductility and hence poor toughness.

Improving toughness, the combination of hardness and ductility, of ceramic materials requires suppression of crack initiation and/or propagation, both of which depend on the microstructure, electronic structure, and bonding nature of the coating material. This, however, is an extremely challenging task that requires a fundamental understanding of the mechanical behavior of materials. Theoretical studies, for example, ab initio calculations and simulations are therefore useful in the design of “unbreakable” materials by providing information about the electronic origins of hardness and ductility. Recent density functional theory calculations predicted that alloying can increase toughness in a certain family of transition-metal nitrides such as V-Mo-N and V-W-N alloys. Toughness enhancement in these alloys arises from a near optimal filling of the metallic d-t2g states, due to their high valence electron concentrations, leading to an orbital overlap which favors ductility during shearing.

This thesis focuses on the growth and characterization of V1-xMoxNy (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.7, 0.55 ≤ y ≤ 1.03) and V1-xWxNy (0 ≤ x ≤ 0.83, 0.75 ≤ y ≤ 1.13) cubic alloy thin films. I show that alloying VN with WN increases the alloy hardness and reduces the elastic modulus, an indication of enhanced toughness. I investigated the growth, nanostructure, and atomic ordering of as-deposited V1-xWxNy(001)/MgO(001) thin films. In addition, I studied the growth, structural and mechanical properties,  and electronic structure of V1-xMoxNy(001)/MgO(001) and V0.5Mo0.5Ny(111)/Al2O3(0001) thin films. I demonstrate that these alloys exhibit not only higher hardness than the parent binary compound, VN, but also dramatically increased ductility. V0.5Mo0.5N hardness is more than 25% higher than that of VN. Using nanoindentation I show that while VN and TiN reference samples undergo severe cracking typical of brittle ceramics, V0.5Mo0.5N films do not crack. Instead, they exhibit material pile-up around nanoindents, characteristic of plastic flow in ductile materials. Furthermore, the wear resistance of V0.5Mo0.5N is significantly higher than that of VN. I also show, for the first time, anion-vacancyinduced toughening of single-crystal V0.5Mo0.5Ny/MgO(001) films. Nanoindentation hardness of these alloys increases with the introduction of N-vacancies, while the elastic modulus remains essentially constant. In addition, typical scanning electron micrographs of nanoindents show no cracks, which demonstrate that N-vacancies lead to toughness enhancement in these alloys. Valence band x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses show that vacancy-induced toughening is due to a higher electron density of d-t2g(Metal) – d-t2g(Metal) orbitals with increasing N-vacancy concentration, and essentially equally dense p(N) – d-eg(Metal) first neighbor bonds.

Overall, I demonstrate that it is possible to design and deposit hard and ductile transition-metal nitride coatings. My research results thus provide a pathway toward the development of new tough materials.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2014. 69 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1578
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-106472 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-106472 (DOI)978-91-7519-392-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-06-02, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-05-08 Created: 2014-05-08 Last updated: 2016-08-31Bibliographically approved

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Kindlund, HannaSangiovanni, DavideLu, JunJensen, JensBirch, JensPetrov, IvanGreene, JosephChirita, ValeriuHultman, Lars

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