Nanotech 2010

Solution-based Coatings of Diamond-like Carbon and Carbon Nanotubes Applied at Atmospheric Conditions

V.Z. Poenitzsch, K.A. Slinker, S.H. Gardner, K.E. Coulter
Southwest Research Institute, US

Keywords: carbon nanotube, diamond-like carbon


Due to their excellent mechanical and tribological properties, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings are used in many specialty applications as protective overcoats. However, the vacuum deposition processes traditionally used to prepare diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings considerably limit the realization of many applications. Southwest Research Institute and Lockheed Martin are presently developing a scalable method of fabricating DLC-precursors in solution by chemical synthesis that can be mixed with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) prior to thermal conversion. Similar to traditional vacuum prepared DLC, this synthetic DLC (s-DLC) is amorphous and possesses many diamond-like properties such as high hardness. Whereas DLC films are conventionally plagued by internal stresses, reinforcing the films with CNTs is enabling the thickest DLC films ever realized. The low-temperature, atmospheric, and solution-based processing allows for coating substrates previously considered impractical due to their size, geometry, or incompatibility with vacuum processes. Further, the properties of the films may be tuned either by adjusting the precursor chemistry to control the sp2, sp3 and H content or by adjusting the loading of the CNTs. In this presentation, an overview of the synthesis, application, and performance of the s-DLC/CNT coatings will be given with a specific focus on the benefits and areas for further development.
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