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Development of multilayer coatings for forming dies and tools of aluminium alloy from liquid state

In this work, a nanocomposite (Cr,Al)xN1−x/Si3N4 coating system was deposited on H11 hot work tool steel, using the Lateral Arc Rotating Cathodes (LARC®) deposition system and modulating the chemical composition of the chromium and aluminium–silicon content. Structural characterizations were performed using scanning electron microscopy, equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy probe, and applying x-ray diffraction, for the evaluation of phase constitution and crystallite size. In addition to the structural features, the coatings' resistance to cyclic immersions in molten aluminium alloy was evaluated. The deposited CrAlSiN coatings exhibited an fcc-Cr1−xAlxN type structure with different aluminium contents, which directly influence hardness and wear and fatigue resistance in cyclic immersion tests. The main failure modes that occurred on the coatings' surface were soldering and thermal fatigue cracks mainly in the form of heat checks. The aluminium rich coatings were able to withstand about 15 000 cycles, whereas the decrease in the aluminium content in the coatings results in a decrease in the resistance to the immersion in molten aluminium bath. It is worthwhile to note that uncoated H11, subjected to similar testing conditions, withstood at maximum 5000 cycles.
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