Influence of carbon: metal ratio on tribological behaviour of Mo-W-C coating

Paranjayee Mandal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mo-W-C coatings with three different C/(Mo+W) ratios (5:1, 2.8:1 and 2.2:1) were deposited by using combined unbalanced magnetron sputtering (UBMS) and high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) technology. The influence of the C/(Mo+W) ratio on coating microstructure and related tribological properties at ambient temperature and at 200 °C were studied in lubricated condition (up to 7500 m and 1800 m of sliding distances, respectively). Results showed that a decrease in the C/(Mo+W) ratio could be correlated with an increase in coating thickness, adhesion strength, hardness and elastic modulus values, and a decrease in the degree of graphitization. At ambient temperature, outstanding tribological properties (very low friction and negligible wear) were observed irrespective of the C/(Mo+W) ratio. At 200 °C, low C/(Mo+W) ratios (2.8:1 and 2.2:1) were found particularly beneficial to achieve excellent tribological properties. The keys to significant friction reduction at 200 °C were (i) in situ formation of MoS2 and WS2 due to tribo-chemical reactions and (ii) presence of amorphous carbon debris particles in the protective tribolayer. With an increase in sliding distance, the tribolayer gradually lowered the friction coefficient by protecting both the coating and counterpart from severe wear. On the other hand, a high C/(Mo+W) ratio (5:1) led to low friction but noticeable abrasive wear at 200 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10189
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2021


  • C/(Mo+W) ratio
  • microstructure
  • sliding friction
  • abrasive wear
  • tribo-chemical wear
  • Raman analysis


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