Formation of nano-crystalline chromium-zirconium nitride (Cr-Zr-N) film coating by DC unbalanced magnetron sputtering


  • Kumpon Leelaruedee Metallurgical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • Kattareeya TAWEESUP Department of Materials and Production Technology Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok, Bangkok 10800, Thailand
  • Patama VISUTTIPITUKUL Metallurgical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand


Nano-crystalline, Cr-Zr-N, Magnetron sputtering, PVD, Film-coating


This research aimed to improve the properties of chromium nitride (CrN) film coatings by addition of zirconium (Zr) as the third element to form Cr-Zr-N ternary nitride. DC unbalanced magnetron sputtering method was used to form Cr-Zr-N film with various Zr/Zr + Cr atomic ratios.  Mechanical properties, surface morphology and crystal structure of the film were investigated. In the research, Cr-Zr-N film were categorised into 3 types with different Zr amount: low zirconium, (Zr/Zr + Cr = 0.29), medium zirconium (Zr/Zr + Cr = 0.44), and high zirconium (Zr/Zr + Cr = 0.74). All Cr-Zr-N films exhibited nano-crystalline structures with lower surface roughnesses than those of crystalline CrN film. With Zr addition, the highest hardness of Cr-Zr-N coating layer increased to 1762.7HV, in the low Zr film. Likewise, Young’s modulus value increased from 213.9 GPa for the Cr-N film to 269.0 GPa for the low Zr film. Both surface hardness and Young’s modulus slightly decreased when the amount of Zr in the ternary Cr-Zr-N film increased. The nano-crystalline Cr-Zr-N film exhibited better adhesion comparing to the binary Cr-N film. Scratch test showed the increased critical load (LC1) from 1.91 N for the CrN film to 3.21 N for the ternary Cr-Zr-N film.


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How to Cite

K. Leelaruedee, K. TAWEESUP, and P. VISUTTIPITUKUL, “Formation of nano-crystalline chromium-zirconium nitride (Cr-Zr-N) film coating by DC unbalanced magnetron sputtering”, J. Met. Mater. Miner., vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 69-75, Dec. 2021.



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