Open Access Research Article Issue
Metastable hybridized structure transformation in amorphous carbon films during friction—A study combining experiments and MD simulation
Friction 2023, 11 (9): 1708-1723
Published: 13 March 2023
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Amorphous carbon films have attracted substantial interest due to their exceptional mechanical and tribological properties. Previous studies revealed that the amorphous carbon films exhibited lower coefficient of friction (COF) because of the transformation in bond structure from sp3-C to sp2-C during friction processes. However, the mechanism for such a transformation during friction is not well understood. This study is conducted to get an insight into the metastable transformation in amorphous carbon film during friction by means of experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. Relevant wear tests showed that wear of the film changed from an abrasive wear mode to a mixture of abrasion and adhesive wear, resulting in a decrease in growth rate of the wear rate after the running-in stage. It is worth noting that the sp3-C atoms were increased during the running-in stage when the films contained lower sp3/sp2 ratios. However, the formed sp3-C atoms could only be short-lived and gradually transformed to sp2-C atoms with the graphitization generated on the wearing surface of the films. The radial distribution function and translational order parameter indicated that the films' high sp3/sp2 ratio led to an increased sp2-C proportion on the wear scar after friction, which caused an increased structural ordering.

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