Titanium use is limited due to its poor tribological properties, and thermal oxidation (TO) and pack carburisation with limited oxygen diffusion (PCOD) are just two of the surface treatments that can be used to enhance the surface properties of Ti. In this study, commercially pure titanium was surface modified using thermal oxidation (TO) and pack carburisation with limited oxygen diffusion (PCOD). Samples were tribological tested in a 0.9% NaCl solution under a contact load of 20 N to investigate the mechanical and electrochemical response of the surface treatments. The tests conducted show that a clear benefit can be obtained in terms of the overall material loss rate using both TO and PCOD. The TO and PCOD treatments generate very different surface structures: TO produces a rutile TiO2
surface film and the PCOD treatment produces a TiC network structure. Both treatments improve the load bearing capacity with the assistance of an oxygen diffusion zone (ODZ). When subjected to sliding contact in a 0.9% NaCl solution, the results show the PCOD-Ti produced the best overall results, with a material loss rate 7.5 times lower than untreated Ti and 2.4 times lower than TO-Ti. The improved wear rate of the PCOD-Ti is attributed to the TiC network structure. The TO-Ti suffers from rapid film failure and high friction. The reduced material loss rate (MLR) of the TO-Ti is attributed to the hard wearing ODZ.
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