Multilayers of TiC/Ti and TiC/B4C have been deposited by pulsed laser deposition. Ti, B4C, and TiC targets were used to deposit multilayer films onto 440C steel and silicon substrates at 40 °C. The structural, compositional, and mechanical properties of the multilayers were examined by x-ray diffraction, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and nanoindentation techniques. Tribological properties were also evaluated using a pin-on-disc friction and wear test. The TiC/Ti films were found to have a crystalline structure, and both (200)TiC/(100)Ti and (111)TiC/(101)Ti orientation relationships were found in these films. In the TiC/B4C films, only the sample with the largest bilayer thickness (25 nm) had significant crystallinity and only the TiC layer was crystalline. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy depth profiles confirmed the presence of composition modulations in these films. Nanoindentation tests of the TiC/Ti multilayers showed hardness levels exceeding that predicted by the rule-of-mixtures. The TiC/B4C multilayers showed increasing hardness with decreasing bilayer thickness but reached only 22 GPa. The pin-on-disc tests gave friction values ranging from 0.3 to 0.9 for both sets of films. These results were correlated with the degree of crystallinity and grain structure of the films.
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