Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Physics

First Advisor

Aouadi, Samir

Abstract

In this tribological study, a temperature dependent inquiry of the changes in chemistry and crystal structure of two selected double metal oxides is undertaken. It is known that chameleon coatings of Mo2N/Ag/MoS2 produce a friction coefficient of 0.1 from wear testing at 600 °C for 300,000 cycles. The low friction is attributed to the formation of silver molybdates layers, a lubricious double-metal oxide, in the coating. Double-metal oxides consisting of a group 6 transitional metal and silver (silver molybdate (Ag2Mo2O7) and silver tungstate (Ag2WO4)) were used for this investigation. Thin films and powders were investigated using high temperature x-ray diffraction, high-temperature Raman spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry in tandem with sliding tests from 25 to 600 °C. Our results were compared to external ab-initio molecular dynamic simulations performed elsewhere to qualify experimental results. The layered atomic structure of silver molybdate facilitates sliding, resulting in a low coefficient of friction (<0.2) from 300-500 °C. Unlike Ag2Mo2O7, however, Ag2WO4 does not possess a layered atomic structure and produced coefficients of friction (>0.4) in all temperature ranges between room temperature and 500 °C. Applying the knowledge gained from prior studies of the intrinsic properties of double metal oxides of group 6, chameleon coatings consisting of group 5 transitional metal nitrides (vanadium nitride, niobium nitride, and tantalum nitride) with silver inclusions were created using unbalanced magnetron sputtering to investigate their potential application as adaptive, friction reducing coatings. The coatings were tribotested against a Si3N4 counterface in the 22 to 1000 °C temperature range. In-situ Raman Spectroscopy measurements were taken during heating and wear testing at 700 °C to identify the evolution of phases in the coatings' surfaces and in the wear track. The chemical and structural properties of the coatings were also characterized before and after wear testing using x-ray diffraction. At higher temperatures, oxygen, silver and the transition metals react on the surface to form potentially lubricious double oxide phases (silver vanadate, silver niobate and silver tantalate). All coatings performed similarly up to 750 °C. The VN/Ag coating, however, had a lower coefficient of friction at 750 °C comparatively to TaN/Ag and NbN/Ag, likely due to its reported lower melting temperature (450 °C) and its layered crystal structure.

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