Metal-doped (Ti, WC) diamond-like-carbon coatings: Reactions with extreme-pressure oil additives under tribological and static conditions

M. Kalin, E. Roman, L. Ožbolt, J. Vižintin

Thin Solid Films 518 (2010) 4336–4344.


In contrast to non-doped diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coatings, reliable chemical evidence of the reactions between metal-doped DLC coatings and oil additives under tribological conditions using state-of-the-art surface-sensitive chemical analyses is still scarce. In this study we have investigated the reactivity of metal-doped (Ti, WC) DLC coatings with the extreme-pressure (EP) dialkyl dithiophosphate additive - without the presence of a steel counter body in the contact that befogs the actual coating reactions. Static "reactivity" experiments without any tribological or mechanical effects were also performed to provide a further insight into the lubrication mechanisms. The results confirmed the chemical reactions between the EP additive and all the DLC coatings, as well as their oxidation during the tribological contacts. We measured an about 10-times higher chemical activitz (a 25-fold P/S ratio increase) for the Ti-doped DLC compared to the WC-doped or non-doped DLC, which also agrees with it having the lowest amount of wear in this study. We suggest that the Ti-DLC boundary lubrication is achieved via binding sites at the O vacancies present in the Ti-doped DLC coating. The data also clearly show, in contrast to most of literature reports, that even though small, some direct chemical activity between the W-DLC and the dialkyl dithiophosphate EP additive is also possible without any iron catalytic effect. However, the chemical changes were significantly smaller, also allowing coating graphitization, which might be one of the reasons for the 50% higher wear of the WC-doped compared to the Ti-doped DLC.

Keywords: DLC, obraba, aditivi, mazanje, friction, spektroskopija, wear, tribologija, lubrication oil, additives


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