Within the universe of wear-resistant thin films, diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings have emerged as the ideal solution for demanding physical applications where components are under high loads or subject to extreme friction, wear and contact with other parts. In these types of environments, only the high hardness of a DLC coating—along with a corresponding low coefficient of friction—can prevent parts from pitting, galling, seizing and ultimately failing in the field.
The widespread applications for DLC coatings include performance automotive and racing to wind turbine shaft bearings and planetary gears; stainless steel cutting blades and piston pumps for food processing; and sliding components in filling and bottling operations. The coatings are also a proven technique for upgrading critical rotating parts in hydraulic drives, fuel injection systems, mechanical seals, pumps and valves.
For many, DLC Coatings are hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) coatings, but this is a misconception. Coatings within the DLC family can be highly engineered based on hydrogen content (hydrogenated or hydrogen-free), the selection of additional metallic and non-metallic doping elements, the presence of sub-layers and choice of deposition and bonding methods.