Atmospheric effects on the adhesion and friction between non-hydrogenated diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating and aluminum A first principles investigation
Experimentally, non-hydrogenated DLC coatings were tested against 319 Al alloy in the nitrogen, hydrogen, dry air (0% RH), and ambient air (40% RH) environments using a vacuum pin-on-disc tribometer. The average coefficient of friction (COF) and the material transfer changed dramatically depending on the test environment. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were performed to investigate the interaction of diamond surface, to represent non-hydrogenated DLC, with N 2, H 2, and H 2O molecules. These calculations suggested that hydrogen and water would dissociate and be chemically adsorbed at a diamond surface whereas the dissociation of nitrogen is very unlikely to happen. Therefore, the diamond/DLC surface is passivated by -H termination in hydrogen and by -OH termination in water vapor, but not passivated in nitrogen. The calculated work of separation for Al with non-passivated and reacted diamond surfaces indicated the same tendency of adhesive transfer as observed in the pin-on-disc tests. The calculated work of separation at the interfaces formed after material transfer has the same trend with the measured COF. Therefore, DFT calculations successfully explained the atmospheric dependency of the tribological behavior of non-hydrogenated DLC coatings.