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Moser, Martin; Kiener, Daniel; Scheu, Christina; Mayrhofer, Paul H. (March 2010): Influence of Yttrium on the Thermal Stability of Ti-Al-N Thin Films. In: Materials, Vol. 3, No. 3: pp. 1573-1592




Ti(1-x)Al(x)N coated tools are commonly used in high-speed machining, where the cutting edge of an end-mill or insert is exposed to temperatures up to 1100 degrees C. Here, we investigate the effect of Yttrium addition on the thermal stability of Ti(1-x)Al(x)N coatings. Reactive DC magnetron sputtering of powder metallurgically prepared Ti(0.50)Al(0.50), Ti(0.49)Al(0.49)Y(0.02), and Ti(0.46)Al(0.46)Y(0.08) targets result in the formation of single-phase cubic (c) Ti(0.45)Al(0.55)N, binary cubic/wurtzite c/w-Ti(0.41)Al(0.57)Y(0.02)N and singe-phase w-Ti(0.38)Al(0.54)Y(0.08)N coatings. Using pulsed DC reactive magnetron sputtering for the Ti(0.49)Al(0.49)Y(0.02) target allows preparing single-phase c-Ti(0.46)Al(0.52)Y(0.02)N coatings. By employing thermal analyses in combination with X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy investigations of as deposited and annealed (in He atmosphere) samples, we revealed that Y effectively retards the decomposition of the Ti(1-x-y)Al(x)Y(y)N solid-solution to higher temperatures and promotes the precipitation of c-TiN, c-YN, and w-AlN. Due to their different microstructure and morphology already in the as deposited state, the hardness of the coatings decreases from similar to 35 to 22 GPa with increasing Y-content and increasing wurtzite phase fraction. Highest peak hardness of similar to 38 GPa is obtained for the Y-free c-Ti(0.45)Al(0.55)N coating after annealing at T(a) = 950 degrees C, due to spinodal decomposition. After annealing above 1000 degrees C the highest hardness is obtained for the 2 mol % YN containing c-Ti(0.46)Al(0.52)Y(0.02)N coating with similar to 29 and 28 GPa for T(a) = 1150 and 1200 degrees C, respectively.