Diamond-like carbon (DLC) wear-resistant thin film coatings can protect instruments and medical devices subject to high loads, extreme friction, wear, and contact with other parts. The high hardness of a DLC coating – along with a low coefficient of friction – can prevent parts from pitting, galling, seizing, and ultimately failing in the field.
DLC coatings can be highly engineered based on hydrogen content (hydrogenated or hydrogen-free), selection of additional metallic and non-metallic doping elements, presence of sub-layers, and choice of deposition and bonding methods. These factors can be precisely controlled to create a broad range of thinly applied (1µm to 5µm) DLC coatings with 8GPa to 80GPa hardness or higher (diamond is measured from 70GPa to 150GPa). The desired coefficient of friction, surface finish, and application temperature can also be manipulated.
Because of the broad range of customizable attributes possible, DLC coatings can play an important role in component engineering early in the design process.
A coating is a sophisticated design element with highly engineered properties, specifically tailored to meet the performance requirements of different operating conditions. As such, coatings should not be a design afterthought.