Nanocrystalline Ti(CxN1 - x) films on titanium were prepared by plasma electrolytic carbonitriding (PEC/N) at 600 V in an electrolytic solution containing triethanolamine and formamide using a pulse power supply. XRD, EDAX, FESEM and TEM were employed to characterize the phase components, element composition, and microstructure of the films. Rockwell C indenter and Vicker's indentation test were used to evaluate the adhesion and hardness of the films. The obtained results show that the films are porous and composed of Ti(CxN1 - x), without apparent discontinuity in the interfaces adjacent to the titanium substrate. The thickness, ratios of C/N and pores sizes of the films tend to increase with the discharge time. When discharge-treated for 2.5 h, the film is about 15 μm thick and exhibits nanocrystalline characterization with grain size of 40-60 nm. Its hardness is Hv 2083 at the load of 0.2 N and the adhesion, Pc value, is more than 500 N. The formation process and mechanism of the Ti(CxN1 - x) films are discussed. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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