Applied Surface Science, Vol.445, 575-585, 2018
Fluorine-carbon doping of WS-based coatings deposited by reactive magnetron sputtering for low friction purposes
WS2 self-lubricant coatings were fluorine-carbon alloyed to improve the load-bearing capacity, decrease the friction and, further, explore the water/oil wettability behaviour. The WS-C/F coatings were deposited by magnetron sputtering using an Ar/CF4 mixture. Up to a certain CF4 flow rate, F was effectively incorporated in the coatings ( maximum of 9.5 at.%) which led to both compactness and hardness increase. Further CF4 flow rate increase led to fluorine content vanishing, while the oxygen and carbon contents increased, then hindering the mechanical properties. XPS results revealed that F and O are chemically bonded to W/S or W/C phases. The tribological performance evaluated at room temperature showed that, sporadically, the friction coefficient of the coating with 9.5 at.% F content reached lower values than WS2 (COF = 0.04 against 0.05). Meanwhile, when it was tested at 200 degrees C, the same coating showed lower COF values in the overall test (0.016 compared to 0.030), this attributed to the higher interplanar distance due to F insertion in the WS2 structure confirmed by XRD. F incorporation seemed to decrease the coating surface roughness and increased its hydrophilicity, with no effect on the oleophilicity. This study presents a further insight on the understanding of the fluorine doping of sputtered WS2 coatings for potential mechanical application. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.