In order to enhance the tribological performance of YT14 carbide, pure Zr coating was deposited on the substrate surface using a multi-arc ion plating method. The surface topography, adhesion strength, thickness, and micro-hardness of the Zr coating were tested. Dry sliding friction experiments against a 40Cr hardened steel ring were conducted with Zr-coated carbides and traditional ones. The average coefficients of friction were measured and compared. The wear characteristics of the samples were examined by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). The test results indicated that the Zr coating deposited on the carbide surface exhibited excellent adhesive strength and lower hardness. The average friction coefficient of Zr coated carbide decreased by 20%–30% in comparison with that of the uncoated one. The Zr coated carbide could reduce the adhesive wear compared with the uncoated one, and the main tribological degradation mechanisms of the coating were abrasive wear, coating flaking and delamination.
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