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Colorado School of Mines - Surface Engineering and Coatings for Die Casting

Argonne National Laboratory - A Preliminary Report on Phygen Coatings

Dr. Frank Lemkey, Consulting Metallurgist

Dr. John B Woodford, Tribiology & Wear Resistance




Testing of Phygen CrN Coatings Reveal Reduced Tool Wear in a Lab Setting

Argonne Laboratory tested FortiPhy™ CrN coating with measureable benefits to Phygen patented coatings application process.Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers. It is also the nation's first national laboratory, chartered in 1946. Argonne is a direct descendant of the University of Chicago's Metallurgical Laboratory, where the first US atomic research was performed.
Argonne's research falls into four broad categories: basic science, scientific facilities, energy resources programs, environmental management. In addition, industrial technology development is an important activity in moving the benefits of Argonne's publicly funded research to industry to help strengthen the nation's technology base.

In early 2003, researchers at Argonne laboratories tested Phygen's FortiPhy chromium-nitride (CrN) coatings. They found measurable benefits of Phygen's patented coatings application process. The results are summarized below:

  • In a friction/wear test, a coated sample was moved back and forth under a fixed 0.25-inch steel ball carrying a load of 10N for 24 hours—an equivalent sliding distance of 6.8 miles! After this test, lubricated only with synthetic diesel fuel, the report states, “Examination of the wear tracks on the three coated flats showed no sign of wear.”
  • In the same test, the measured friction coefficient was 0.09.
  • Commenting on the microstructure of Phygen coatings, the report states, “Previously, PVD chromium nitride (CrN) hard coatings have commonly suffered from poor homogeneity due to the presence of high volume fractions of entrained Cr droplets, and this has impaired their overall hardness, friction coefficient, and wear resistance. However, the Phygen coatings that we examined in this study were apparently almost all single-phase nitride, with only a small fraction of entrained Cr, an apparently noncolumnar grain structure, and resultant high toughness and wear resistance.”

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