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Type: Journal article
Title: Synergistic toughening of hard, nacre-mimetic MoSi₂ coatings by self-assembled hierarchical structure
Other Titles: Synergistic toughening of hard, nacre-mimetic MoSi(2) coatings by self-assembled hierarchical structure
Author: Xu, J.
Zhao, X.
Munroe, P.
Xie, Z.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2014; 4(1):4239-1-4239-8
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2014
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Jiang Xu, Xiaoli Zhao, Paul Munroe and Zonghan Xie
Abstract: Like many other intermetallic materials, MoSi2 coatings are typically hard, but prone to catastrophic failure due to their low toughness at ambient temperature. In this paper, a self-assembled hierarchical structure that closely resembles that of nacre (i.e., mother of pearl) was developed in a MoSi2-based coating through a simple, yet cost-effective, depostion technique. The newly formed coating is tough and can withstand multiple indentations at high loads. Key design features responsible for this remarkable outcome were identified. They include a functionally graded multilayer featuring elastic modulus oscillation, varying sublayer thickness and a columnar structure that are able to attenuate stress concentrations; interlocking boundaries between adjacent sublayers that improve the bonding and arrest the cracks; a transitional layer that bridges the coating and substrate and facilitates load transfer. Moreover, the contributions of six important structural characteristics to damage resistance are quantified using finite elemnet analysis and in an additive manner (i.e., from low- to high-level complexity). The in-situ toughened coating is envisaged to enhance the mechanical performance and extend the lifespan of metal components used in safety-critical applications.
Keywords: Disulfides; Molybdenum; Coated Materials, Biocompatible; Crystallization; Materials Testing; Surface Properties; Compressive Strength; Tensile Strength; Hardness; Biomimetic Materials; Elastic Modulus; Nacre
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit
RMID: 0020136400
DOI: 10.1038/srep04239
Appears in Collections:Mechanical Engineering publications

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