For several decades, the increasing productivity in many industrial domains has led to a significant and ever-increased interest to protective and hard coatings. In this context, titanium-aluminum nitrides were developed and are now widely used in a large range of applications, due to their high hardness, good thermal stability, and oxidation resistance. This chapter reviews the thermodynamical characteristics of the Ti-Al-N system by reporting the progress made in the description of the Ti-Al-N phase diagram and the main mechanical and chemical properties of Ti1−xAlxN-based coatings. As a metastable phase, the existence of the fcc-Ti1−xAlxN depends on particular process parameters, allowing stabilizing this desirable solid solution. The influence of process parameters, with a particular interest for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods, on morphology and crystallographic structure is then described. The structure of Ti1−xAlxN thin films depends also on the aluminum content as well as on the annealing temperature, due to the spinodal nature of the Ti-Al-N system. These changes of crystallographic structure can induce an improvement of the hardness, oxidation resistance, and wear behavior of these coatings. The main mechanical and chemical properties of physical vapor deposition (PVD) and CVD Ti1−xAlxN-based coatings are also described.
Part of the book: Coatings and Thin-Film Technologies