One of the most commonly used tribological thin-film coatings is Chromium Nitride (CrN), typically deposited by PVD process. Examples of current applications of this coating include cutting and forming tools: ICE piston ring, hydrodynamic pumps, etc. In selecting coating for tribological applications, one of the critical parameter is the coating thickness. In the present work, we experimentally studied the effect of coating thickness on friction and wear performance of CrN coatings under unidirectional sliding. Test were conducted with ∼ 1, 5 and 10 microns thick coatings deposited on a hardened H-13 steel substrate by plasma enhanced magnetron sputtering (PEMS) process. The friction behavior was strongly dependent on coating thickness, especially at relatively low loads. At higher load however, the thinner coating (1 μm) was quickly worn through while the thicker ones (5 and 10 μm) remained intact. Wear in both, the counterface WC material and the coating was also observed to depend on coating thickness. The observed effect on coating thickness on tribological behavior is attributed to differences in the microstructure and mechanical behaviors of coatings as function of thickness.

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