Fired rails from electromagnetic railguns show severe damage from arcing and tribological mismatch. We have fabricated and studied several different nanoscale multilayered materials as possible routes to improve the thermal transport and thermomechanical properties of the rail and armature materials. A vacuum-arc-based plasma deposition technique with wide control of ion energy was used for the film synthesis, and high-energy high-dose (energy up to ˜ 150 keV, dose up to ˜ 1 × 1017cm−2) metal ion implantation was also used. The multilayered film structures formed and investigated included sublayers of Ti, TiCo, ZrN, TaN and dlc (diamond-like carbon) in the following combinations: (i) ZrN on TiCo on TaN on dlc on a Cu substrate, (ii) ZrN on TiCo on TaN on dlc on an Al substrate, (iii) TiN on TiCo on TaN on a stainless steel substrate, and (iv) Ti on TiCo on a stainless steel substrate. Individual sublayer film thickness was in the range of 400Å-7μ. The surfaces were characterized by SEM, TEM, RBS, high energy electron diffraction, arid microhardness measurements. Significant improvements in the material surface properties were obtained for virtually all of the surface structures investigated. Here we outline the material synthesis and surface modification techniques used and the materials characterization results obtained.