Metallography: How It Is Done and Why It Is Important

In many industries there is a demand for quality and efficient materials that will produce the best results possible in line with product competition.

Metallography is the thing that can make this happen. Commonly known as being the study of metal’s components, metallography looks at the microstructures of all types of metallics through a set of processes.

How metallography works

Starting with either choosing or cutting a sample size from the metal being examined and then may be mounted onto a base where these further testing procedures will take place:

  • Grinding
  • Polishing

Grinding is generally completed with a larger grain size to smooth off any larger pieces of external debris that could mar the integrity of the material.

Polishing then takes place and is done with a finer grain size. Oftentimes there will be a few rounds of polishing conducted with each time using a lesser grain size.

Metallograpic inspection is not as simple as looking through a microscope at the chemical structures of a metal. A metallographer must know intuitively the reactions that can be caused in a material by any surrounding processes. This is vital to a successful inspection and prognosis.

Some processes that can alter the micro-components in a metal are cutting, heat treating, processing. Other less tangible outcomes can include altered strength, resistance to continuous wear, and rigidity.

This is particularly important when the metal will be used for transportation purposes such as automobiles, aerospace crafts, and trains. Using incorrect or weak materials can cause potentially fatal accidents. Because of this, the metallographic practice must conduct a meticulous inspection that can be relied upon for a metal’s future use.

Industries that use metallography

Common industries that employ a metallographic process during the manufacturing stage are:

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