In this study, the specimens in disc style were prepared by changing the coating sequence and coating thickness of titanium nitride and titanium carbonitride films on S45C steel substrate as the top and the second layers of a multilayer system. These arrangements were made in order to investigate the mechanical properties of the composite films like the adhesion strength, load carrying capacity, hardness, surface topography and surface microstructure. The experimental results show that the specimens with the Ti/Ti(C,N)/TiN film have a relatively higher composite hardness than the Ti/TiN/Ti(C,N) film. The trend exhibited in the coating film hardness of ceramic coating film is similar to the composite hardness. The specimens with the Ti/Ti(C,N)/TiN film have a lower critical friction force and critical track distance compared with the Ti/TiN/Ti(C,N) film. For the specimen with the Ti/Ti(C,N)/TiN film, peaks protruding over the flat surface are quantitatively increased by the increase in the coating film thickness. Nevertheless, either the peak parameter Rz or the amplitude parameter Ry after coating thick films is strongly affected by the Ra value of steel substrate before coating and the uniformity of the surface morphology can thus be improved. However, for the specimens with the Ti/TiN/Ti(C,N) film, increasing the total film thickness decreased the asperity, but also eliminated the morphological uniformity.
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