||The CrAlN coatings are a good alternative to conventional CrN coatings especially for high temperature oxidation-resistance applications. Different CrAlN coatings were deposited on silicon (100) by PVD (Physical vapor deposition) technique from two targets (chromium and aluminum) in a reactive nitrogen atmosphere at aluminum applied negative voltage (−300, −500, −700 and −900 V). The composition, structural, mechanical and thermal properties of the as-deposited coatings were systematically characterized by energy dispersive analysis of X-rays, X-ray diffraction, nanoindentation, and the “Mirage effect” experiments.
The X-ray diffraction (XRD) data show that in general CrAlN coatings were crystallized in the cubic NaCl B1 structure, with the (1 1 1) and (2 0 0) diffraction peaks observed. Two-dimensional surface morphologies of CrAlN coatings were investigated by atomic force microscope (AFM). The results show that with increasing aluminum proportion the coatings became more compact and denser and their increased correspondingly, showing a maximum hardness of about 36 GPa (30 at% of Al) which is higher than that of CrN. Moreover, the results in this work demonstrate that the variation of aluminum fraction alter the resulting columnar grain morphology and porosity of the coatings. However, the thermal properties are greatly affected by these morphological alterations. The correlation between aluminum fraction in CrAlN coatings and its thermal properties revealed that the conductivity and the diffusivity are influenced primarily by size and shape distribution of the pores and secondarily by a decrease of the stitch parameter dimension.