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Ion Beam Coatings


Study of the Formation Mechanisms of Ion-Beam Coatings and Development of the Structural Model Describing the Effect of the Ultra-Dispersed Powder Additives in Sputtering Targets on the Structure And Properties of these Coatings

Tech Area / Field

  • MAT-OTH/Other/Materials
  • OBS-OTH/Other/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
State scientific institute Powder Metallurgy Institute, Belarus, Minsk


  • Sheffield Hallam University / Materials and Engineering Research Institute, UK, Shiffield

Project summary

Project aim. The goal of this project is to study the mechanisms of the ion-beam coating formation deposited from the sputtering targets containing ultra-dispersed powder additives and the effect of these additives on the coating structure and properties, as well as the development of structural and mathematical models for the formation of composite coatings containing ultra-dispersed particles. It is hypothesized that during ion-beam sputtering the whole clusters with fully formed structures and not inpidual atoms are being evaporated from the target and deposited onto the substrate resulting in a superior coating.

Current status. Metal corrosion could lead to significant industrial losses. The lifetime of pipe lines (oil, petroleum, gas, water, etc.), equipment, machinery, or structures (buildings or bridges) could be shortened due to metal corrosion [Economic effects of Metallic Corrosion in the United States. US Dept. Commerc., Nat. Bur. Standard., Spec. Publ. N 511/1. March 1978. and Jorn Larsen-Basse. Surface engineering and the new millennium // Surface Engineering. 1998. V. 14. N 2. P. 81—83.]. However, continuing usage of traditional corrosion resistant materials based on highly alloyed steels or alloys with corrosion resistant metals is very limited due to diminishing supplies of nickel, molybdenum, copper, titanium, and other metals. Thus the problem of material protection from wear and corrosion by applying protective coatings, surface alloying, or surface structure modification is of outmost importance. The successful solution of this problem will result in significant usage reduction of ferrous and nonferrous metals, increase in quality and service life of machines and equipment, labor productivity, and in enormous savings of materials, energy and work-force resources. Currently scientists and engineers from the developed countries are actively involved in the development of new materials. Some of these new materials could be obtained using ion-beam treatments. The proposed Cr- and Ti-based ion-beam coatings containing ultra-dispersed powders belong to the class of materials, which combine properties of thin films with high technological characteristics and ultra-dispersed materials.

The effect of the proposed project on the advances in the field. If the proposed ideas are confirmed and both structural and mathematical models for the formation of composite ion-beam coatings with ultra-dispersed powders are developed, a large leap forward in technology and understanding of coating formation will be attained, resulting in a formulation of a principally new theory for ion-beam deposition and in the development of new wear and corrosion resistant coatings. This will allow to obtain novel composite coatings with finely tuned properties for a wide range materials, which will result in the increased quality and lifetime of machines and equipment, labor productivity, and in large savings of materials, energy and work-force resources.

Project participants’ qualifications in the field. The researchers of the Independent Self-financing Entity WPCI SSI “Powder Metallurgy Institute” (SSI PMI) are the leading specialists in the development of high-efficiency technologies, and high-tech equipment and materials for wear resistant, strengthening, and other functional coatings. Laboratory for Vacuum Coatings possesses the required equipment and highly skilled personnel. The participating scientists are also members of SSI “PMI” department of Physical and Chemical Analysis, which serves as a core facility for the nationally accredited “Center for material analysis and testing” as certified by Belarussian State Institute of Metrology (certificate of accreditation number is BY/ issued February 17, 1997). Additionally, the Center is accredited by Russian Corporation for Nanothechnology and is licensed to conduct analysis and testing of nanomaterials. The Center is outfitted with the country’s best equipment and instrumentation and is staffed with highly skilled scientists with extensive expertise in the fields of material science and physical and chemical investigations. The scientists from SSI PMI possess significant long-term work experiences in the areas of aviation, space, and missile engineering.

Anticipated results and their application. In the course of this project all of four tasks will be addressed and the following will be achieved and determined:

  • a complete analysis of the structure of the Cr- and Ti-based ion-beam coatings with varying % content of ultra-dispersed diamonds (UDD) and nano-sized ZrO2 powders will be carried out;
  • mechanical characteristics, wear and corrosion resistances of theses coatings will be determined;
  • relationships between coating mechanical characteristics, wear and corrosion resistances and chemical composition, total amount, and the size on ultra-dispersed additives present in the sputtering target will be determined;
  • new theory of ion-beam deposition and new structural and mathematical models for the composite coating formation containing ultra-dispersed particles will be developed.

The expected contributions to 1) the applied science - novel wear and corrosion resistant ion-beam coatings will be developed; 2) fundamental science - a new model of the formation of the composite ion-beam coatings with ultra-dispersed particles and principally new theory for ion-beam deposition will be proposed; 3) commercialization - fabrication technology and protocols for these novel ion-beam coatings will be developed. It is expected that these coatings will be used for corrosion protection of various medical instrumentation and will replace galvanic coatings currently used in automotive and construction industries.

Project compliance with ISTC goals. This project fully agrees with the ISTC goals because:

  1. it provides opportunity for the scientists previously engaged in the research areas related to weapons development to re-orient and apply their knowledge for such peaceful applications as development of composite corrosion resistant coatings for medical equipment, stamped out tools and machine parts working under constant friction;
  2. it promotes integration of the participants into wider international scientific community through expanding the collaborations and communications with other European scientists in the areas of corrosion protection for medical equipment and instrumentation;
  3. it supports both fundamental and applied research as well as technology development to replace existing environmentally hazardous galvanic coatings;
  4. it supports the transition of the participants to market economy by allowing for the development and sale of novel inexpensive but superior coatings and their fabrication technologies.

Proposed work. Total length of the project is 3 years. The total of 3956 person*days will be spent to complete the project. In the course of this project the following will be determined:
  • structures of ion-beam coatings based on Cr + 1% UDD; Cr + 3 % UDD; Cr + 5 % UDD; Cr + 1 % ZrO2; Cr + 5 % ZrO2­­­­; Ti + 1 % UDD; Ti + 5 % UDD; Ti + 1 % ZrO2; Ti + 5 % ZrO2­­;
  • mechanical properties of these coatings;
  • wear and corrosion resistance of these coatings;
  • the effect of the chemical composition of the ultra-dispersed additives on coating mechanical characteristics and corrosion resistance;
  • dependence of coating mechanical and corrosion resistance on total amount (%t content), chemical composition, and sizes of ultra-dispersed additives present in the evaporation targets;
  • a new theory for ion-beam deposition and the structural and mathematical models for the formation of composite ion-beam coating containing ultra-dispersed particles will be developed.

Roles of foreign collaborators. Professor Papken Hovsepian, director of Nanotechnology Center for PVD research from Materials and Engineering Research Institute at Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, Great Britain, has agreed to be a collaborator on this project. Professor Hovsepian is involved in the research and development of the coatings formed by physical deposition methods (PVD). It has been agreed with prof. Hovsepian that the scientists from his Center will be exchanging their research results with the project participants to confirm some of theories and experimental findings obtained by UK scientists using their methodology and instrumentation. Moreover, prof Hovsepian will be testing and validating the methodology for testing of micromechanical properties of the coatings that was developed by the SSI PMI scientists.

Technical approaches and methodology. Novel comprehensive approach developed by the authors will be employed to study thin ion-beam coatings using the latest state-of-the-art research instrumentation. It includes the use of high-resolution scanning electron microscope with micro-X-ray spectral analyzer and electron diffraction module, thin film micro-mechanical testers, indenters and other similar equipment. All of the instruments are certified and calibrated annually. The in-house developed complex testing methodology includes:

  • preliminary micro- and macro- testing of the coatings in their initial state, establishment of metallographic criteria for sample evaluation; selection of the samples for further studies;
  • performing coating tests for wear and corrosion resistance, analysis of the obtained results, selection of samples that passed the tests for further studies;
  • investigation of micro- and submicro-structure of the samples, formulation of structural criteria for material and coating quality evaluation, based on coating intended applications, development of structural and mathematical models for the formation of thing ion-beam coatings.

Some aspects of this methodology were previously published in 1) Andreyev M.A. Markova L.V Kuznetsova T.A Chizhik S.A. Kompleksnyi metod issledovaniya struktury i mekhanicheskikh svoystv tonkikh iznosostoykikh pokrytiy s primeneniem indentirovaniya I atomno-silovoy mikroskopii. Zhyrnal «Pribory, instrumenty I metody ispytaniy», 2006, T. 11., № 1. S. 105 – 109; and 2) Andreyev M.A. Markova L.V Kuznetsova T.A.. Chekan V.A The usage of scanning electronic and atomic-power microscopy methods for research of the structure of thin combined coatings International Conference «Science for Materials un the Frontier of Centuries: Advantages and Challenges» Proceedings of Conference. November 4-8, 2002, Kiev. Ukraine. P. 728.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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