Vapor phase lubrication (VPL) has been proposed as a method for lubricating high temperature engines. During VPL, lubricants are delivered through the vapor phase to high temperature engine parts and react on their surfaces to deposit a thin, solid, lubricating film. Although ceramics such as SiC are desirable materials for high temperature applications, their surfaces are unreactive for the decomposition of TCP and thus not amenable to vapor phase lubrication. As a means of activating the SiC surface for TCP decomposition we have used chemical vapor deposition of Fe from Fe(CO)5. Modification of the SiC surface with adsorbed Fe accelerates subsequent decomposition of TCP and deposition of P and C onto the surface. In the temperature range 500–800 K, m-TCP decomposes more readily on Fe-coated SiC surfaces than on SiC surfaces. The C and P deposition rates depend on the thickness of the Fe film and are further enhanced by oxidation of the Fe. This work provides a proof-of-concept demonstration of the feasibility of using vapor phase lubrication for ceramics.

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