Surface modification of a Ti2AlC soft ceramic by plasma nitriding treatment
Plasma nitriding treatment was used to improve the surface hardness of a Ti2AlC soft ceramic due to its relatively low hardness of ~3GPa. A continuous coating was formed by plasma nitriding Ti2AlC at 800°C for 4h in a mixture of 75vol.% N2 and 25vol.% H2 gas atmosphere. The surface layer is about 6μm in thickness and composed of TiN with a small amount of AlN. The hardness and the adhesion of the coating to the substrate were evaluated with Vickers hardness and scratch tests. The results showed that a strong coherent coating was formed and surface hardness was improved. The plasma nitriding treatment is a promising technique to improve the surface properties of Ti2AlC at relatively low temperatures.