A systematic investigation of the microstructure of CrAlCxN1-xcoatings as a function of carbon contents was conducted. Quaternary CrAlCxN1-xcoatings were deposited on Si wafers by a hybrid coating system combining an arc-ion plating technique and a DC reactive magnetron sputtering technique using Cr and Al targets in the Ar/N2/CH4gaseous mixture. The effect of carbon content on microstructure of CrAlCxN1-xcoatings was investigated with instrumental analyses of X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron, and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The results show that the carbon content of CrAlCxN1-xcoatings linearly increases with increasing CH4/(CH4/N2) gas flow rate ratio. The surface roughness of the CrAlCxN1-xcoating layer decreases with the increase of carbon content. © 2011 The Nonferrous Metals Society of China.
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