The fabrication of nanocomposite coatings consisting of a hard matrix and solid lubricant islands holds promise developing highly wear resistant coatings with low friction coefficients. We have conducted research on methods for creating hard coating layers with a pattern of holes that can act as reservoirs for solid lubricant phases. The requirements for this method include low cost and the ability to create holes with nearly 1:1 aspect ratios. We first investigated methods to disperse polymer or ceramic microspheres on the substrate, followed by deposition of hard coatings (typically 1–3 microns thick) and then removal of the microspheres. This method resulted in a random distribution of 3 micron holes in the coating, and also permitted deposition of the hard coatings at elevated temperatures. The second part of this study investigated the behavior of a solid lubricant (molybdenum disulphide) when deposited on the surface in thin-film form and a powder (graphite) in liquid suspension form. The effectiveness of the patterned hole structure will be discussed in terms of the ability to reduce friction and wear.

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