Growth and characterization of TiAlN nanoparticles using low-energy plasma focus device
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In this experimental study, a 1.5-kJ plasma focus device of Mather type was employed to grow titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN) coatings at room temperature on 316 stainless steel sub-layer. The anode of the device was made of Titanium and Aluminium. A mixture of N2 and Ar gases was used as the work gas for TiAlN deposition. TiAlN nanoparticles were formed on stainless steel with 0° of the degree with respect to the anode axis by different shots at 5 cm above the anode. X-ray diffraction results indicated the formation of the TiAlN structure on stainless steel. Scanning electron microscopy images demonstrated the approximately uniform growth of TiAlN nanoparticles on the surface. EDX analysis results showed that an increase in the number of the shots increased the deposition of TiAlN on the sub-layer. According to the atomic force microscopy images, the mean thickness of the surface increased as the shots increased in number. Microhardness test results of the thin layers showed that an increase in the number of the shots increased the hardness of the samples.
KeywordsTiAlN Plasma focus Nanoparticles XRD SEM
Titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN) is a refractory and very hard material. Due to its physical and chemical properties, from high-temperature resistance to corrosion resistance, it is widely used for coating in high-temperature technologies . TiAlN consists of titanium and aluminum and has the following advantages over titanium nitride:
(1) Oxidation resistance at high temperatures (800–900 °C) due to the formation of the protective aluminum oxide layer; (2) higher hardness (3000 HV); and (3) lower electrical and thermal conductivity [1, 2, 3].
TiAlN nanoparticles have been deposited by different methods among which are physical vapor deposition (PVD) [4, 5, 6], sputtering [7, 8], chemical vapor deposition (CVD) , and laser/sol–gel method . TiAlN nanoparticles have also been formed by other plasma focus devices with different energies and configurations [11, 12].
In this study, the plasma focus device of Tabriz Sahand University of Technology was employed to grow TiAlN nanoparticles on stainless steel sub-layer. The nanoparticles were formed on the stainless steel with different numbers of shots. The synthesized samples were examined for their structure by XRD, in surface morphology by SEM, in elements dispersion on the sub-layer by mapping analysis, in topography and surface thickness by AFM, and in grown elements combination on the sub-layer by EDX.
The samples were placed 5 cm above the anode. (Ti, Al)N nanoparticles were also placed at 0° with respect to the anode axis with 100, 150, and 200 shots, being analyzed by XRD, SEM, AFM, EDX, and mapping devices.
X-ray spectroscopy results
TiAlN nanoparticles were grown on 316 stainless steel sub-layer using a 1.5-kJ Mather-type plasma focus device.
XRD results indicated the formation of TiAlN structure on the sample surfaces, which is matched with the standard data for TiAlN.
According to SEM images and EDX analysis, an increase in the number of the shots resulted in a higher deposition on the sub-layer, increasing the size of the nanoparticles.
According to AFM images, the mean surface thickness is increased as the shots increase in number.
According to the microhardness results, the increased number of the shots increased the hardness of the deposited samples from 243 to 286 VH.
HA is responsible author and carried out the experiment and EG is supervisor and project support.
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