ABSTRACT Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coatings have attracted significant attention due to their low friction coefficient, high degree of hardness, chemical inertness, and high wear resistance as well as and their many possible uses in metallurgical, aeronautical, and biomedical applications. However, DLC has low adhesion strength to metallic substrates. Carbonitriding was performed before DLC deposition to improve this adherence. Different concentration of nitrogen in the gas mixture was used during the carbonitriding of Ti6Al4V alloy. DLC films were subsequently grown from methane using plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The samples were characterized with Raman scattering spectroscopy, nanoindentation, and tribological tests. Films from 80.0% N2 had the best friction coefficient (0.07) and a critical load of ~22 N. In the scratching test, these films had adhesive failure and they completely detached from the substrate only in the end of the tests. SEM images show carbonitring promoted a significant increase in the surface defects (homogeneously distributed) but without the presence of microcracks. EDX analysis indicated that nitrogen element was diffused throughout the thickness of the samples. Hydrogen and carbon atoms from carbonitriding formed a diffusion-barrier layer that can be used as the first step for DLC deposition. This carbonitriding can also provide a carbide layer, which serves as the precursor for the nucleation and growth of DLC films.
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