Tribological behaviors of diamond-like carbon coatings on plasma nitrided steel using three BN-containing lubricants

Zheng feng Jia, Peng Wang, Yan qiu Xia, Hao bo Zhang, Xian juan Pang, Bin Li

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In this work, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings were deposited on plasma nitrided AISI 1045 steel by magnetron sputtering. Three BN-containing additives and molybdenum dithiocarbamate (MoDTC) were added to poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) as additives. The additive content (mass fraction) in PAO was fixed at 0.5 wt%. The friction and wear characters of DLC coatings on nitrided steel discs sliding against AISI 52100 steel balls were tested under the lubricated conditions. It was found that borate esters have a higher load carrying capacity and much better anti-wear and friction-reducing ability than that of MoDTC. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were employed to explore the properties of the worn surface and the mechanism of friction and wear. According to the XPS analysis, the adsorbed organic N-containing compounds and BN are, possibly, the primary reason for the novel borate esters to possess a relatively constant coefficient of friction and lower wear rate. On the other hand, possibly, the MoDTC molecules break down during sliding and produce many Mo-oxides, and then the Mo-oxides destroy the DLC coating because of its sharp edge crystalline solid structure. After destroying the DLC coating, the MoDTC react with metals and form MoS 2 tribofilm, and decrease coefficient of friction of rubbing pairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6666-6674
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • BN-containing additives
  • Diamond-like carbon coating
  • Tribology
  • XPS


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