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Metallic alloys serve important roles for many types of technology, as they have a broader range of properties than almost all other materials. In fact, there are several thousand standard alloys already in existence and new ones are continuously developed for better performance or to meet new demands. Metallography is the study of the composition and microstructure of all types of metallic alloys. The microstructure - inclusions, grains, or matrix - has a significant effect on the macroscopic properties of alloys, e.g., tensile strength, elongation, and both thermal and electrical conductivity. The understanding of the relationship between composition, microstructure, and macroscopic properties plays a key role in the development and manufacture of alloys, where metallography is often exploited. These same investigative principles can be applied to the characterization of any type of solid material. Different types of experimental techniques are used to reveal the microstructure of metallic alloys. Since the last century, most investigations are carried out with incident light microscopy using bright field, dark field, differential interference contrast (DIC), and color (tint) etching. Presently, computer automated microscopes and image analysis systems provide a rapid and accurate method for the metallographic assessment of alloys, as well as, other materials.



  • Rating the Quality of Steel

    This report describes optimal microscopy solutions for rating steel quality in terms of non-metallic inclusions and reviews the various international and regional standards concerning rigorous quality assessment methods, e.g., EN 10247, ASTM E45, DIN 50602, and ISO 4967.
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  • See the Structure with Microscopy - Know the Composition with Laser Spectroscopy

    The advantages of a 2-in-1 materials analysis solution combining optical microscopy and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for simultaneous visual and chemical inspection are described in this report. The basic principles of the 2-in-1 solution and a comparison between it and other common materials analysis methods, such scanning electron microscopy (SEM), are explained to demonstrate how a rapid, efficient workflow is achieved. A 2-in-1 analysis solution can reduce significantly the cost and time for obtaining material image and composition data. Such data are instrumental in assuring quality and reliability to make confident decisions quickly during production, quality control, failure analysis, and research and development in industries and fields, such as automotive and metallurgy.
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  • Free Webinar On-Demand: New Cleanliness Workflow from Leica and Pall

    Obtaining cleanliness results rapidly, accurately, and reliably is a significant advantage for manufacturers and component suppliers. For this reason, Pall Corporation and Leica Microsystems have joined efforts to offer a new, unique workflow solution customizable to your individual needs. Join our free webinar to get a sneak preview on Leica Microsystems' new fully implemented LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) system. This new landmark technology enables you to easily conduct fast and reliable optical and chemical cleanliness analysis with only one system. See for yourself how Leica Microsystems' new software and system solution facilitates and accelerates the identification of nature and source of particle contamination on components.
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  • How to adapt grain size analysis of metallic alloys to your needs

    Metallic alloys are important for a variety of products in many industries. Several thousand standard alloys are currently in use and new ones with better performance are developed all the time to meet new demands. For example, there are multiple alloys of steel and aluminum which are used to build automobiles, trucks, planes, and trains.
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  • Free Webinar On-Demand: Rate the quality of your steel

    The quality of steel is an essential topic in automotive, metalworking and building industries. To ensure the highest standards, an accurate and reliable Quality Assurance workflow for the inspection of non-metallic inclusions is crucial.
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  • Free Webinar On-Demand: Analyze grain size on microstructures the way you need

    Grain size plays an essential role in the mechanical properties of materials. Learn how to overcome problems in sample preparation and how to analyze different materials like, steel, aluminium, titanium, copper and ceramics.
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  • Five Advantages of Inverted Over Upright Microscopes in Industrial Applications

    With inverted microscopes, you look at samples from below since their optics are placed under the sample, with upright microscopes you look at samples from above. Traditionally, inverted microscopes are used for life science research, because gravity makes samples sink to the bottom of a holder with aqueous solution and you don’t see a lot from above.
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  • Triple Ion Beam Cutting of Diamond/Al Composites for Interface Characterization

    The microstructure of new materials with heterogenic components is extremely difficult to study. As mechanical polishing often not leads to smooth surfaces, a novel ion beam cutting technique has proven to be very effective. In this article, the applicability of a novel triple ion beam (TIB) cutting technique for a clean metallographic preparation of the diamond/Al composites will be described.
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  • Metallography – an Introduction

    Metallography is the study of the microstructure of all types of metallic alloys. It can be more precisely defined as the scientific discipline of observing and determining the chemical and atomic structure and spatial distribution of the constituents, inclusions or phases in metallic alloys. By extension, these same principles can be applied to the characterization of any material.
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  • Metallography with Color and Contrast

    The examination of microstructure morphology plays a decisive role in materials science and failure analysis. There are many possibilities of visualizing the real structures of materials in the light microscope. The image samples shown in this article demonstrate the information potential of some of the techniques used.
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  • Steel – the All-Rounder That Has to Pass Many Tests

    Steel is a real all-rounder. However, each application requires a specifi c sort of steel grade. Without steel there would be no Olympic stadiums, wind energy plants, bridges, skyscrapers, trains, planes, cars, razor blades or knives for medical and home use – at least, not of the quality and design we know today. Buderus Edelstahl GmbH in Wetzlar, Germany is one of the world’s top producers of special steel.
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  • Steel – It All Depends on What's Really Inside

    Steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, is both stable and elastic, extremely resistant, and a permanent item in our everyday life. Today there are over 2,500 standard steel types, with new grades and applications emerging all the time. Each steel type is specially made for its purpose. It is subject to stringent quality standards to ensure that it optimally withstands the specific loads.
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  • Research for the Optimal Structure

    To see how liquids can be made to flow, without being directly heated or touched, you only have to watch a raw egg explode in a microwave oven. Electromagnetic forces can even melt metal at hotter than 1000 °C. In the Magnetohydrodynamics study group at the Research Centre Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) these complex interactions between electrically conductive liquids and magnetic fields are used to control the flow and solidification processes of liquid metal alloys.
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Useful Links

International Metallographic Society – An Affiliate Society of ASM International
The ASTM International Committee E04 on Metallography
The Stahl-Zentrum – Subcommittee on Metallography, Materials Analysis and Simulation

Practical Metallography
Metallography, Microstructure, and Analysis – Application and Innovation for Metals, Alloys, and Engineered Materials
Metallography (1969–1989, continued as "Materials Characterization")
Materials Characterization
The Physics of Metals and Metallography

Web Sources
Topic "Metallography" in Wikipedia
Helping Metallographers Since 1996
Information about Steel for Metallographer
The Fraunhofer IWS Metallography Laboratory
Microstructure Analysis, Metallography and Mechanical Testing of Materials
The Metallography Site of the Hochschule Mittweida – University of Applied Sciences
Metallography (3 Parts)
Quantitative Metallography
Chapter 1: Metallography
Metallography, Materialography and Specimen Preparation
Non-Destructive Metallography Used On-Site, Possibilites and Experiences
George Vander Voort – Consultant in Metallography, Failure Analysis and Archeometallurgy
Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals
Metallography – An introduction to sample preparation for metallography
Handbook of Analytical Methods for Materials – Metallographic Study
Introduction to Quantitative Metallography
What is Metallography?
Enzymatic Metallography: A Simple New Staining Method
Quantitative Metallography Technical Publications
University of Mauritius, Faculty of Engineering, Mechanical and Production Engineering Department, Metallurgy Lab: Metallography
Failure Analysis – Forensic Engineering: Metallurgical Failure Analysis
Metallography and Microstructures of Cast Iron

Videos / Images
Metallography Part I by the University of Cambridge, Department of Material Sciences and Metallurgy
Metallography Part II by the University of Cambridge, Department of Material Sciences and Metallurgy
CTP Metallography
Metallography Examples
Albums on Metallography by the Canadian Centre for Welding and Joining

Text Books
Free Download of E-Books on Metallography – Principles and Practice
Elementary Metallurgy and Metallography (Shrager AM)
Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist, 2nd Edition (Reardon AC)
Steel Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist (Verhoeven J)
Optical Metallography of Titanium (Finlay WL, Resketo J, Vordahl MB)
A History of Metallography – The Development of Ideas on the Structure of Metals before 1890
ASM Handbook Volume 09: Metallography and Microstructures (Vander Voort G)

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