Machine parts like rolling bearings or gears are stressed during operation in a changing mechanical strain. This causes wear by impacts and wear by rolling which is marked by the so called surface ruin. The appearance of surface fatigue is based upon structural transformation, cracking and cracking-growth processes and ends with the separation of debris particles caused by the above mentioned permanent changing strain /1/. The final stage, which is equivalent to the component failure, is the so called ‘pitting’ on the technical surface, which is characteristically named ‘surface fatigue’.
The impact tester is used for detailed research about failure mechanisms of thin films. Statements about the adherence of hard material coatings under dynamic compressive stress can be made using this test method, due to the possibility to simulate some effects of rolling strain. Therefore a hard metal ball strikes with a frequency of up to 50 Hz onto the surface. The altitude stress can be varied to get a detailed evaluation of fatigue strength under reversal strain.
Selected hard material coatings were analized after testing with the described method applying an impact force of 300 N, 500 N and 700 N. In the framework of this presentation MSIP (Magnetron-Sputter-lon-Plating) coatings on titanium- and chromium basis were used. The fatigue defects and the results of this study will be discussed depending on structure and morphology of thin films.