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Boron carbide (B4C) coatings have previously been studied for potential use as finite-life run-in coatings. B4C itself exhibits high hardness and favorable wear resistance. In dry sliding wear, it polishes its counterpart mating surface and provides fatigue resistance to a coated part by removing asperities that would otherwise cause fatigue failure. Thus, the ability of these coatings to polish the counterpart mating surface is the critical property for their functioning as fatigue coatings. Employing such run-in coatings requires precise control of the changes in abrasiveness during the polishing process. This study found that the rate at which the coating abrasiveness decreases can be controlled by varying the tempering temperature of the steel counterpart. This paper discusses the underlying factors that contribute to these effects.
Siniawski, M.T., Harris, S.J. & Wang, Q. Abrasiveness Control of a Thin Boron Carbide Coating Through Counterpart Tempering. Tribology Letters 17, 939–946 (2004). doi: 10.1007/s11249-004-8106-9