The influence of Kanthal wire surface defects on the formation of Si nanolayer deposited by PVD method

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The subject of this research is the structure of a Si nanolayer deposited on a FeCrAl wire surface by means of magnetron sputtering method. Si layer was selected as one of possible protections of the wire surface against excessive corrosive-erosive wear. In order to increase the power necessary for the DC discharge of the magnetron with Si cathode, a second magnetron with an aluminum disc as a cathode was used. The wire was attached to a carousel holder to ensure its rotation around the magnetron. The thickness of the deposited layers was about 150 nm. A wire surface examination indicated the presence of defects such as gaps between grains, cavities as well as severely deformed grains of surface layer. The research was conducted on the sample sections which had been prepared by focused ion beam method (FIB). The technique of transmission microscopy, which was used for observation, allowed us to obtain images in bright field (BF), dark field (DF), as well as in high resolution (HREM). The studies were also performed on the wire surface after the cutting process of the expanded polystyrene blocks. A metallographic optical microscope Nikon MA200 with a large depth of field was used for the examination which showed the presence of carbon deposit products. Additionally, a composition microanalysis was carried out along the line within selected areas of samples, with the use of energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). A large impact of wire surface defects on Si layer forming was found as well as a high direct homogeneous growth. The examination of the sections indicated the existence of a mechanism of defects sealed by Si layer, where directionality of grains growth in these areas revealed the tendency for vertical location relative to defects surface. Consequently, closed nanopores, i.e. spaces not covered with Si layer, were created. It is a characteristic feature of areas with defects covered with an oxide film created in a natural way.

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