Growth, Structure and Tribological Properties of Atomic Layer Deposited Lubricious Oxide Nanolaminates

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Friction and wear mitigation is typically accomplished by introducing a shear accommodating layer (e.g., a thin film of liquid) between surfaces in sliding and/or rolling contacts. When the operating conditions are beyond the liquid realm, attention turns to solid coatings. Solid lubricants have been widely used in governmental and industrial applications for mitigation of wear and friction (tribological properties). Conventional examples of solid lubricants are MoS2, WS2, h-BN, and graphite; however, these and some others mostly perform best only for a limited range of operating conditions, e.g. ambient air versus dry nitrogen and room temperature versus high temperatures. Conversely, lubricious ... continued below

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xiv, 176 p. : ill.

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Mensah, Benedict Anyamesem December 2010.

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  • Mensah, Benedict Anyamesem

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Friction and wear mitigation is typically accomplished by introducing a shear accommodating layer (e.g., a thin film of liquid) between surfaces in sliding and/or rolling contacts. When the operating conditions are beyond the liquid realm, attention turns to solid coatings. Solid lubricants have been widely used in governmental and industrial applications for mitigation of wear and friction (tribological properties). Conventional examples of solid lubricants are MoS2, WS2, h-BN, and graphite; however, these and some others mostly perform best only for a limited range of operating conditions, e.g. ambient air versus dry nitrogen and room temperature versus high temperatures. Conversely, lubricious oxides have been studied lately as good potential candidates for solid lubricants because they are thermodynamically stable and environmentally robust. Oxide surfaces are generally inert and typically do not form strong adhesive bonds like metals/alloys in tribological contacts. Typical of these oxides is ZnO. The interest in ZnO is due to its potential for utility in a variety of applications. To this end, nanolaminates of ZnO, Al2O3, ZrO2 thin films have been deposited at varying sequences and thicknesses on silicon substrates and high temperature (M50) bearing steels by atomic layer deposition (ALD). The top lubricious, nanocrystalline ZnO layer was structurally-engineered to achieve low surface energy {0002}-orientated grain that provided low sliding friction coefficients (0.2 to 0.3), wear factors (range of 10-7 to 10-8 mm3/Nm) and good rolling contact fatigue resistance. The Al2O3 was intentionally made amorphous to achieve the {0002} preferred orientation while {101}-orientated tetragonal ZrO2 acted as a high toughness/load bearing layer. It was determined that the ZnO defective structure (oxygen sub-stoichiometric with growth stacking faults) aided in shear accommodation by re-orientating the nanocrystalline grains where they realigned to create new friction-reducing surfaces. Specifically, high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) inside the wear surfaces revealed in an increase in both partial dislocation and basal stacking fault densities through intrafilm shear/slip of partial dislocations on the (0002) planes via a dislocation glide mechanism. This shear accommodation mode mitigated friction and prevented brittle fracture classically observed in higher friction microcrystalline and single crystal ZnO that has potential broad implications to other defective nanocrystalline ceramics. Overall, this work has demonstrated that environmentally-robust, lubricious ALD nanolaminates of ZnO/Al2O3/ZrO2 are good candidates for providing low friction and wear interfaces in moving mechanical assembles, such as fully assembled rolling element bearings and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) that require thin (~10-200 nm), uniform and conformal films.

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xiv, 176 p. : ill.

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  • December 2010

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  • May 4, 2011, 1:11 p.m.

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  • June 24, 2011, 3:36 p.m.

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Mensah, Benedict Anyamesem. Growth, Structure and Tribological Properties of Atomic Layer Deposited Lubricious Oxide Nanolaminates, dissertation, December 2010; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33186/: accessed June 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .