Run-in behavior of nanocrystalline diamond coatings studied by in situ tribometry

Richard R. Chromik, A. Leigh Winfrey, Jan Lüning, Robert J. Nemanich, Kathryn J. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The friction performance of nanocrystalline diamond coatings was evaluated using in situ tribometry with sapphire counterfaces. Coatings were grown by microwave plasma assisted chemical vapor deposition in an Ar-H-CH4 plasma, with H ranging from 0 to 36%. In situ examination of the sliding contact, combined with ex situ analysis of the sapphire counterface revealed that the velocity accommodation mode was interfacial sliding of a carbonaceous transfer film versus the coating wear track. For most tests, the contact diameter increased during the first 50 sliding cycles and then remained constant. The in situ measure of the contact diameter was found to correlate confidently to ex situ measurements of counterface wear. The performance of the diamond coatings, characterized by quick run-in to low friction was best when a small but detectable graphite peak was present in the X-ray diffraction (XRD) profile. The relative intensity of the XRD graphite peak was also found to directly correlate with the peak position of the C1s → π* transition as measured by near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectroscopy. Increasing the relative amount of graphite-bonded sp2 carbon in the NCD films decreased run-in cycles to low friction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-489
Number of pages13
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jul 31 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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