Mechanical properties and microstructures of polycrystalline ceramic/metal superlattices: TiN/Ni and TiN/Ni0.9Cr0.1

X. Chu*, M. S. Wong, W. D. Sproul, S. A. Barnett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Polycrystalline superlattice coatings of TiN/Ni and TiN/Ni0.9 Cr0.1 of thickness 2-3 μm were deposited onto tool steel substrates using an opposed-cathode reactive unbalanced magnetron sputtering system. The TiN/Ni superlattices have repeated periods (Λ) from 1.8 to 62 nm with various Ni layer thickness (lNi) to Λ ratios, lNi/Λ. TiN/Ni0.9Cr0.1 superlattices have Λ=1.2-7.4 nm with lNiCr/Λ=0.3. The structures were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, as well as plan-view and cross-sectional transmission electron microscopy. The hardnesses and elastic moduli of the superlattices were measured using nanoindentation techniques. An increase in hardness with decreasing Λ and grain size was observed. A maximum hardness of 3500 kgf mm-2 for TiN/Ni, about 1.5 times of the rule-of-mixtures values, was found at lNi/Λ=0.16 and Λ=2.2 nm. For TiN/Ni0.9Cr0.1, a maximum hardness of 3200 kgf mm-2 was found at lNi/gL=0.3 and Λ=1.2 nm. No significant variations in TiN/Ni0.9Cr0.1 film modulus were found as a function of Λ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-256
Number of pages6
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 3 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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