Written by: Denton Vacuum, LLC
Diamonds are the hardest known natural materials on earth, so DLC tries to duplicate that feeling from within a lab. There are three primary qualities desired above all else: hardness refers to the diamond’s suitability as a gemstone, wear resistance measures the gem’s ability to stand up to abrasion, and slickness refers to the smoothness of a polished diamond. Hardness is probably most important in commercial applications, as it tends to make things stronger.
DLC is found in many tools, like drill bits or saw blades. This has to do with the hardness of the carbon dust that is applied to the tool. This hardness adds an extra element of durability to the tool and makes it last longer. You can even find DLC on the blades of razors that are used for wet shaving. With diamond like carbon, blades that could only cut through wood would be capable of cutting other materials as well.
Plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition is a process used in the creation of some automotive parts. This process breaks a substance like DLC down into molecules, and then uses a special cooling technique to adhere the materials to the part. You will often find DLC in the engines of modern motorbikes, but they are especially useful in high-performance parts like those found in a NASCAR race car.
DLC resists wear and friction, but it also has some interesting electrical properties. At lower voltages, DLC-coated appliances can direct the flow of electrons through microscopic x-ray tubes. It’s also used in medical device coatings, like hip or knee joint replacements, where DLC increases durability and shelf life of the product. Lastly, doctors will sometimes use stints that are coated in DLC, and the substance is also found on artificial heart pumps.
DLC is found in several common tools we use around the house, but it has high-performance applications as well. Using DLC, manufacturers can fundamentally alter the properties of a substance to make it more durable or improve its shelf life and attractiveness in other ways.