Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings are amorphous carbon material which exhibits typical properties of diamond such as hardness and low coefficient of friction, characterized based on the sp3 bonded carbon and structure. The proportion of sp2 (graphetically) and sp3 (diamond-like) determines the properties of the DLC. This coating can be applied to automobile engine component in an attempt to provide energy efficiency by reducing friction and wear. However, DLC coatings are faced with issues of thermal instability caused by increasing temperature in the combustion engine of a vehicle. Therefore, it became necessary to seek ways of improving this coating to meetup with all tribological requirements that will be able to resist transformational change of the coating as the temperature increases. This chapter discusses the need for diamond-like carbon coatings for automobile engine applications, due to their ultra-low friction coefficient (<0.1) and excellent wear resistance (wear rate ~ 7 x 10−17 m3/N.m). The importance of DLC coatings deposited using PECVD technique, their mechanical and tribological properties at conditions similar to automobile engines would also be discussed. Non-metallic (hydrogen, boron, nitrogen, phosphorus, fluorine and sulfur) or metals (copper, nickel, tungsten, titanium, molybdenum, silicon, chromium and niobium) has been used to improve the thermal stability of DLC coatings. Recently, incorporation of Ag nanoparticles, TiO2 nanoparticles, WO3 nanoparticles and MoO3 nanoparticles into DLC has been used. The novel fabrication of diamond-like carbon coatings incorporated nanoparticles (WO3/MoO3) using PECVD for automobile applications has shown an improvement in the adhesion properties of the DLC coatings. DLC coatings had a critical load of 25 N, while after incorporating with WO3/MoO3 nanoparticles had critical load at 32 N and 39 N respectively.
Part of the book: Engineering Applications of Diamond