Probing fatigue resistance in multi-layer DLC coatings by micro- and nano-impact: Correlation to erosion tests

Samuel J. McMaster, Tomasz W. Liskiewicz, Anne Neville, Ben D. Beake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)


DLC coatings have seen recent use as protective coatings for flow control devices in the oil and gas industries. Improving fatigue resistance for multi-layered DLC coatings on hardened steel is key for improving their performance in this harsh environment of highly loads repetitive contact. This has been studied directly by micro-scale repetitive impact tests at significantly higher strain rate and energy than in the nano-impact test, enabling the study of coating fatigue with spherical indenters and dry erosion testing. Nano-impact has also been used to assess the initial fatigue behaviour of the coatings. Good correlation between micro-impact results and erosion results was found. Hard multi-layered a-C:H and Si-a-C:H coatings were found to be significantly less durable under fatigue loading than a-C:H:W. The influence of the coating mechanical properties and structure on these differences is discussed. The results of this study provide further strong evidence that in highly loaded mechanical contact applications requiring a combination of load support and resistance to impact fatigue, the optimum lifetime of coated components may be achieved by designing the coating system to combine these properties rather than by solely aiming to maximise coating hardness as this may be accompanied by brittle fracture and higher wear.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126319
JournalSurface and Coatings Technology
Early online date22 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Surface and Coatings Technology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Surface and Coatings Technology, 402, (2020) DOI:10.1016/j.surfcoat.2020.126319

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Grant No. ELP01629X and Micro Materials Ltd


  • DLC
  • Erosion
  • Impact
  • Nanoindentation
  • Nanomechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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