Journal of Advanced Ceramics


ternary carbides, DC sputtering, annealing, crystallization, X-ray diffraction (XRD), wavelength-dispersive X-ray analysis (WDSX)


Ceramic-metallic MAX phase of chromium aluminium carbide ternary compounds was successfully obtained through deposition by DC sputtering onto Si substrates. A study of the influence of substrate temperature and in-air post-annealing on the film crystallinity and oxidation was undertaken. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), wavelength-dispersive X-ray analysis (WDSX), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) were used for film characterization. It is shown that, at substrate temperature of about 450 ℃, as-deposited films are amorphous with small nanocrystals. Subsequent annealing in air at 700 ℃ leads to film crystallization and partial oxidation. WDSX spectroscopy shows that the films oxidise to a depth of around 120 nm, or 5% of total film thickness which amounts at around 2.68 µm. As a novelty, this demonstrates the possibility of in-air crystallization of Cr2AlC films without significant oxidation. Materials Analysis Using Diffraction (MAUD) software package for a full-profile analysis of the XRD patterns (Rietveld-type) was used to determine that, as a result of annealing, the average crystallite size changes from 7 to 34 nm, while microstrain decreases from 0.79% to 0.24%. A slight tendency of preferential growth along the (101¯0) direction has been observed. Such texturing of the microstructure has the potential of inducing beneficial anisotropic fracture behaviour in the coatings, potentially interesting for several industrial applications in load-bearing devices.


Tsinghua University Press