Energy efficiency improvements in dry drilling with optimised diamond-like carbon coatings

M. Zolgharni, B. J. Jones*, R. Bulpett, A. W. Anson, J. Franks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate enhancements of performance and energy efficiency of cutting tools by deposition of diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings on machine parts. DLC was deposited on steel drill bits, using plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) with the acetylene precursor diluted with argon, to produce a surface with low friction and low wear rate. Drill bit performance in dry drilling of aluminium was quantified by analysis of power consumption and swarf flow. Optimised deposition conditions produced drill bits with greatly enhanced performance over uncoated drill bits, showing a 25% reduction in swarf clogging, a 36% reduction in power consumption and a greater than five-fold increase in lifetime. Surface analysis with scanning electron microscopy shows that DLC coated drills exhibit much lower aluminium build up on the trailing shank of the drill, enhancing the anti-adhering properties of the drill and reducing heat generation during operation, resulting in the observed improvements in efficiency. Variation of drilling efficiency with argon dilution of precursor is related to changes in the microstructure of the DLC coating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1737
Number of pages5
JournalDiamond and Related Materials
Issue number7-10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Diamond-like carbon
  • Plasma CVD
  • Cutting tools
  • Energy efficiency
  • Surface characterization


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