Nanoscratch testing has been used to investigate the tribological behaviour of 5, 20, 60 and 80 nm tetrahedral amorphous carbon (ta-C) thin films deposited on silicon by the filtered cathodic vacuum arc method. The nanoscratch behaviour of the films was found to depend on the film thickness, with 60 and 80 nm films undergoing border cracking and then at higher critical load a dramatic delamination event. 5 and 20 nm films have a lower critical load for onset of border cracks but do not undergo a clear dramatic failure, and instead are increasingly worn/ploughed through until film removal as confirmed by microscopic analysis. This is consistent with the thinner films having lower stress and reduced load-carrying ability. Nanoindentation confirms that the thicker films have enhanced load support and higher measured composite (film + substrate) hardness. The 80 nm film in particular can retain appreciable load support whilst deformed during indentation, as shown by its ability to alter the critical loads for contact-induced phase transformations in the Silicon substrate during unloading.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Materials Chemistry
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering