Nanoindentation of ultra-hard cBN films: A molecular dynamics study

Cheng Huang, Xianghe Peng, Tao Fu, Yinbo Zhao, Chao Feng, Zijun Lin, Qibin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Cubic Boron nitride (cBN) exhibits excellent mechanical properties including high strength, hardness and thermal resistance, etc. We optimized the parameters in the Tersoff interatomic potential for cBN based on its cohesive energy, lattice parameter, elastic constants, surface energy and stacking fault energy. We performed with molecular dynamics (MD) simulations the nanoindentation on the (001) and (111) surface of monocrystalline cBN thin films to study the deformation mechanisms and the effects of temperature and substrate orientation. It was found that during the indentation plastic deformation is mainly stress-induced slips of dislocations along {111}<110> orientations. It was also found that the hardness of cBN depends strongly on temperature, and the capability of plastic deformation is enhanced with the increase of temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 15
Externally publishedYes


  • MD simulation
  • Nanoindentation
  • Temperature
  • Tersoff potential
  • cBN film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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