Discontinuous cracking of TiN films on a steel substrate induced by an adhesive interlayer
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPhilosophical Magazine Letters. 2019, 99 (6), 199-207. 10.1080/09500839.2019.1656351
The basic mechanisms governing the process of cracking of single-layer brittle films have been extensively explored through both simulations and experiments. However, the role that an adhesive interlayer plays in the cracking of the overlying brittle film remains unclear. By performing three-point bending experiments, we observed that the insertion of a 100 nm thick Ti interlayer changed the cracking behaviour of TiN films from a continuous pattern to a discontinuous pattern. The slight change in the microstructure of the film and the increase in film thickness arising from the addition of the Ti interlayer are unlikely to cause the observed cracking morphology. The combination of the different interface between the Ti and the steel substrate and the fracture of the Ti interlayer are responsible for the transition in the TiN film cracking morphologies.