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Friction and Wear Research Volume 2, 2014

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Microstructure and Wear Properties of Laser


Clad NiCrBSi-MoS2 Coating
Wei Niu1,a, Ronglu Sun*1,b, Yiwen Lei2,c
School of Mechanical Engineering, Tianjin Polytechnic University, China;
Advanced Mechatronics Equipment Technology, Tianjin Area Major Laboratory, China

1
2

newways_2005@126.com; *,brlsun@tjpu.edu.cn; cleiyiwen@163.com

Received 14 March 2013; Accepted 4 July 2013; Published 12 January 2014


2014 Science and Engineering Publishing Company

Abstract
A self-lubricant Ni-based composite coating was fabricated
on the H13 steel substrate by laser cladding a mixture of
Ni-coated MoS2 particles and NiCrBSi particles using a CO2
laser. The microstructure, microhardness and wear
properties of the clad coating were investigated. The results
showed that the laser clad coating was composed of
sphere-like CrxSy particle, net-like eutectic of the compound
of sulfide of iron, and chromium, and dendritic -Ni solid
solution. A metallurgical bonding between the laser clad
coating and substrate was obtained. The micro-hardness of
the coating is 350~420 HV0.2. The friction coefficient of the
coating is 0.10~0.20 at room-temperature in air. The wear
mass loss of the coating is reduced to 17.4% of that of the
substrate in wear testing.
Keywords
Laser Cladding; Composite; Microstructure; Micro-hardness; Wear
Property

Introduction
Many tribological systems are required to work in
high-temperature, vacuum, strong radiant and
chemical-pollution aggressive environments. Under
these conditions, the presence of liquid lubricant is
inevitably contaminated. Self-lubricating metal matrix
composites combine both high wear resistance/
toughness of metal matrix and excellent lubricating
characteristics of lubricants, exhibiting excellent
tribological characteristics and good suitability to
different environments. Metal sulfide (WS2, MoS2, etc.),
graphite, hexagonal BN, CaF2 are chosen as lubricants
because of their special structure [Wu et al. (1997),
Xiong (2001), Renevier et al. (2000), Chen et al. (2008)].
At present metal matrix lubricant composite coating is
generally applied instead of bulk composite. In
addition, plasma spraying [Huang et al. (2009)] and
laser cladding are familiar surface technologies.

However, the bonding between the coating (made by


the plasma spraying) and substrate is mechanical. It is
well known that laser cladding is an effective
technique to improve the surface wear resistance of
workpieces and has been widely investigated to
produce metal, ceramet, ceramic coating containing
ceramic particles (such as TiC, WC, TiB2, etc.)
[Majumdar & Li (2010), Yang et al. (2010), Candel et al.
(2010)]. And laser cladding has been recently
developed to produce metal lubricant composite
coating adopting solid lubricant WS2, MoS2, hexagonal
BN [Xu et al. (2006), Wang et al. (2008), Zhang et al.
(2010), Avril & Courant (2006)].
Metal sulfide lubricant composite coating changes on
the tribological contact of working surfaces and
exhibits effective lubricating performance because
sulfide has a lamellar structure with low shear strength.
In the present study, in situ Ni-based cladding coating
was produced using Ni-coated MoS2 particulates and
NiCrBSi particles on H13 steel by laser cladding. In
situ sulfide lubricant with similar lamellar structure of
MoS2, the invalidation was avoided due to the
decomposition and reaction of MoS2 during laser
cladding, and thus leading to surprising enhancement
of self-lubricating properties. The microstructure of the
composite coating was characterized by means of
scanning electron microscopy, while its microhardness,
friction and wear mass loss were evaluated.
Experimental Procedures
H13 steel with a composition of 4Cr5MoSiV1 and size
of 50 mm20 mm20 mm was adopted as the substrate
for laser cladding. The surface of the steel was ground
to a surface roughness of Ra=0.2 m, and rinsed with
ethanol and acetone successively. The powder
mixtures used as the clad materials were prepared

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from NiCrBSi alloy (Ni60) and Ni-coated MoS2


powders (50wt. % MoS2) according to the weight ratio
of 2:1. The size of the NiCrBSi alloy powder was
100~250 m, and that of Ni-coated MoS2 powder was
about 100 m. The chemical composition (wt. %) of
NiCrBSi alloy powder is: 16Cr, 3.3B, 4.5Si, 0.9C, less
than or equal to 8.0Fe, and balance Ni. The mixtures
were placed on the surfaced of H13 steel substrate
using an organic binder. The thickness of the
pre-placed powder was 1.0 mm.
Laser cladding was carried out using a 5 kW CO2 laser.
The parameters of laser cladding process were selected
as: 2 kW power, 3 mm/s scanning speed and 3 mm
laser beam diameter. Fig.1 shows schematic diagram of
the laser cladding processing.

FIG. 1 SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF THE LASER CLADDING


PROCESSING

Microstructure and chemical composition of the laser


clad coating were characterized using QUANTA200
scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with a
dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analyzer (EDS). The
phases were identified by X-ray diffraction (XRD)
method using the Rigaku D/max 2500 PC X-ray
diffractometer with Cu target K radiation. The
specimens for SEM observations were cut transversely
to clad coating, mechanically polished and etched
using FeCl3: HCl: H2O=5 g: 5 ml: 100 ml etchant
reagent. The microhardness of the cladding coating
was measured using a HXD-1000T digital
microhardness tester at an applied load of 200 g with a
dwell time of 15 s. Wear properties of laser clad
coating in air were evaluated using a block-on-ring
friction tester (M100). The samples of 7 mm7 mm25
mm were used as the blocks, and the GCr15 steel
(HRC65 with an initial surface roughness of Ra=0.2 m)
with size of 43.5 mm10 mm as the ring. The wear
tests were as follows: rotating speed of ring was 200
rpm, the load was 49 N, room-temperature running
time was 30 min. The friction coefficient was

Friction and Wear Research Volume 2, 2014

calculated using the expression =M/(RF), where M is


the friction moment, R is the radius of the ring, and F is
the applied normal load. The samples were cleaned by
ethanol after test and weighed by an analytical balance
with accuracy of 10-5 g.
Results and Discussions
Fig. 2 shows the X-ray diffraction pattern of
NiCrBSi-MoS2 composite coating. The result indicated
that the phase of composite consisted of -Ni solid
solution, binary element sulfide Cr3S4, Cr5S6, Fe9S10. The
sulfide of Cr3S4, Cr5S6 can form the eutectic compound
which was marked as CrxSy (in which y=x+1). It can be
seen that the MoS2 peaks disappeared after laser
cladding, and new phase such as CrxSy and Fe9S10
appeared. It is well known that MoS2 has some special
physicochemical properties, such as low melting point
(1180) and decomposition temperature (1370). The
MoS2 was decomposed, melted and even vaporized
sequently with a gradual increase in the temperature
of the laser-irradiated zone during laser cladding
process. The decomposition of MoS2 resulted in the
formation of S and Mo, of which S reacted with Cr and
Fe in the laser-generated pool. The reaction as follows
happens:
Cr+MoS2 CrxSy+ Mo(x=3,5; y=x+1)
Fe+MoS2 Fe9S10+ Mo
And Mo melted to Ni matrix form -Ni solid solution.
Although molybdenum disulfide reacted with matrix
and reduced its lubrication function to some degree,
but new phases such as CrxSy formed through reaction
were also excellent solid lubricants.

FIG. 2 X-RAY DIFFRACTION SPECTRUM OF LASER NiCrBSi-MoS2


COMPOSITE COATING

Fig. 3 shows the scanning electron micrographs of the


laser cladding Ni-based composite coating. The
microstructure is characterized by like-spherical
particles, net-like eutectic structure and dendritic
matrix, shown in Fig. 3(a). The results of EDS analysis
(shown in Fig. 4) indicated that the like-spherical

Friction and Wear Research Volume 2, 2014

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particle is rich of Cr and S element, which is


non-stoichiometric compound of sulfide of chromium
and defined CrxSy containing 7.84Ni, 53.4Cr, 5.61Fe
and 33.15S element (wt. %), and the net-like eutectic
(marked B in Fig.3) contains more Fe (57.62Fe, 18.91Cr
and 23.47S, wt.%) which are compound of sulfide of
chromium and iron.
From bottom region to upper region of laser cladding
Ni-based composite coating, the coverage of sulfide
phase increased correspondingly, the amount and size
of CrxSy particles gradually increased. Because the
density of CrxSy is about 3.9~4.8 gcm-3 lighter than
Ni-based alloy, the CrxSy particles have a tendency to
concentrate at the top of the coating. It can be seen
from Fig. 3(b) that there is a planar crystalline band of
2~5 m thickness between the bonding zone and
heat-affected zone, from which directional dendrites
are formed. The thin layer exhibiting epitaxial
solidification with a planar front growth is the
liquid-solid interface between the melted and
non-melted regions. This shows good metallurgical
bonding between clad coating and substrate.

(a)

(a)

(b)

FIG. 4 EDS SPECTRUMS OF DIFFERENT PHASES IN THE NiCrBSi


-MoS2 COMPOSITE COATING SHOWN IN FIG.3 (a) SPHERICAL
BLOCKS (MARKED A); (b) EUTECTIC (MARKED B)

Microhardness (HV0.2)

700

B
A

10m
(b)

600
500
400
300
200
0.0

0.5

Substrate

HAZ

CL

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

Distance from surface (mm)


FIG. 5 MICROHARDNESS DISTRIBUTION PROFILE ALONG THE
DEPTH OF CROSS-SECTION OF LASER CLAD COATINGS
1.2

Substrate
Laser clad coating

Substrate

20m

FIG. 3 SEM MICROGRAPH OF LASER CLAD COMPOSITE


COATING (a) THE UPPER SECTION AND (b) THE BOTTOM
SECTION

Friction cofficient

1.0
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0.0

10

15

20

25

30

Time (min)

FIG. 6 FRICTION COEFFICIENT OF LASER CLAD NiCrBSi-MoS2


COMPOSITE COATING AND SUBSTRATE

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Friction and Wear Research Volume 2, 2014

Fig. 5 shows microhardness distribution profile along


the depth at the middle of cross-section of laser clad
Ni-based composite coatings. The profile can be
divided into three regions corresponding to the
cladding zone (CL), heat-affected zone (HZA) and
substrate, respectively. The addition of Ni-coated MoS2
to Ni60 alloy decreased the hardness of the clad
coating. The microhardness of laser clad Ni-based
composite coating ranged from 350 to 420 HV0.2. In the
heat-affected zone, the microhardness of the laser
cladding composite coating is 620-400 HV0.2 higher
than that of 260 HV0.2 in the substrate, since martensitic
transformation occurs.
Wear test results, as shown in Fig. 6 and Fig. 7, indicate
that the laser clad Ni-based composite coating has
excellent self-lubricating properties under roomtemperature dry sliding wear test conditions. The
friction coefficient of the laser cladding Ni-based
composite coating and substrate is 0.10~0.20 and
0.55~0.75, respectively, as shown in Fig.6. The friction
coefficient of laser clad coating is considerably lower
than that of substrate. The wear mass loss of the laser
cladding Ni-based composite coating and substrate is
3.1 mg, and 17.8 mg. The wear mass loss of laser clad
Ni-based composite coating is markedly lower than
substrate, and which is 17.4% of that of the substrate. It
is clearly illustrated that the soft sulfide solid
lubricating phase in Ni-based coating leads to
surprising enhancement of self-lubricating properties
under room-temperature sliding wear test condition.

the compound of sulfide of chromium and iron, and


dendritic -Ni solid solution. The microhardness of the
laser clad Ni-based composite coating ranged from 350
to 420 HV0.2, higher than that of 260 HV0.2 in the
substrate. The friction coefficient of the laser clad
Ni-based
composite
coating
was
0.10~0.20,
considerably lower than substrate. The wear mass loss
of the composite coating was 17.4% of the substrate. In
situ self-lubricant sulfide of chromium and iron in the
composite coating reduced the friction coefficient led
to surprising enhancement of self-lubricating
properties.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors would like to acknowledge the financial


support provided by the National Nature Science
Foundation of China (Grant No. 51371125), Tianjin
Research Program of Application Foundation and
Advanced Technology (No.11JCZDJC21400).
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FIG. 7 WEAR MASS LOSS OF LASER CLAD NiCrBSi-MoS2


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