Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN) 

Titanium Carbo-Nitride (TiCN) is a solid solution of TiN (titanium nitride) and TiC (titanium carbide).  There is no standard composition and concentration profile, and individual vendors offer different structures and compositions.  Because of saturation-free, complete miscibility or infinite inter-solubility of the two phases, it is possible to deposit graded or modulated compositions anywhere between 100% TiN to 100% TiC, with optimized concentration profiles of individual components. 

The color of TiCN coatings depends strongly on the C : N carbon-to-nitrogen ratio at the film surface.  As the carbon content increases, the color will change from a golden yellow (the color of pure TiN) to brown, and then upon further increase, it will go thru dark violet to the final saturated color of silvery metallic gray for stoichiometric and super-stoichiometric compositions. 

IVAC offers a TiCN coating with a slightly super-stoichiometric composition.  The hardness of TiCN is increasing with the increase of C : N ratio (as manifested by microhardness measurements, or abrasion resistance – a more practical and accessible way to ascertain the effects relative surface hardness on real tool life).  However, the increased hardness comes at a price of increased brittleness: a super-stoichiometric TiCN layer is typically more fragile than one with a lower nitrogen content. 

Moreover, the ratio of phases can be set relatively easily by controlling the feed gas composition. 

Presumably, due to solution hardening effects, TiCN is a harder coating than TiN but it is also typically more brittle and can have a somewhat lower oxidation resistance. 

Depending on the work material, cutting or other metal-working conditions, and the surface morphology, in many applications it was observed to have a lower coefficient of friction.  This, in turn, enables the deployment of higher cutting or other processing speeds.  TiCN is useful in die-work, woodworking, and some metal-cutting applications. 

Please bear in mind that Ion Vacuum Technologies Corporation recommends the use of our proprietary K-Coat in lieu of TiCN as K-Coat is more “rugged” coating, likely a better option in many applications, with more predictable performance.  Though the two coatings are identical in appearance K-Coat provides all of the benefits of TiCN without its inherent drawbacks as K-Coat is a multilayered ternary coating.  For more information about K-Coat please refer to its page.