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In-situ SEM Indentation Studies Of The Deformation Mechanisms In TiN, CrN And TiN/CrN.

K. Rzepiejewska-Malyska, M. Parlinska-Wojtan, K. Wasmer, K. Hejduk, J. Michler
Published 2009 · Medicine, Materials Science

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In this study, the microstructure and the deformation mechanisms of TiN, CrN and multilayer TiN/CrN thin films on silicon substrates were investigated. Cross-sectional lamellas of nanoindents were prepared by focused ion beam milling to observe by transmission electron microscopy the microstructure of the as-deposited and deformed materials. TiN film exhibits nanocrystalline columns, whereas CrN shows large grains. The TiN/CrN multilayer presents microstructural features typical for both materials. A film hardness of 16.9GPa for CrN, 15.8GPa for TiN and 16.6GPa for TiN/CrN was found by the nanoindentation. Reduced modulus recorded for TiN and CrN reference coatings were 221.54 and 171.1GPa, respectively, and 218.6GPa for the multilayer coating. The deformation mechanisms were observed via in-situ scanning electron microscope nanoindentation. The TiN thin film showed short radial cracks, whereas CrN deformed through pile-up and densification of the material. For TiN/CrN multilayer pile-up and cracks were found. Transmission electron microscopy observations indicated that TiN deforms through grain boundary sliding and CrN via densification and material flow. The deformation mechanism observed in TiN/CrN multilayer was found to be a mixture of both modes.
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