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        CONCEPT OF METALLOGRAPHY
 
Microstructural Analysis is the science revealing and evaluating the internal structure of materials.

It is most frequently performed by the polishing a specimen, etching the surface to reveal the structure and examining the prepared surface under the reflected light microscope.

This type of investigative procedure is also referred as Metallography because it played a key role in the development of Metallography as a Science.

This type of investigative procedure is also referred as Metallography because it played a key role in the development of Metallography as a Science.

More recently, non-metals such as ceramics, polymers and both polymer and metal matrix composites have been challenging metal as leading engineering materials.

Since metallographic techniques are also used to advanced materials, the term Micro structural Analysis now seems appropriate.

Earliest attempt to reveal microstructure by abrasive polishing met with failure because the researchers did not understand the materials they were trying to polish or how to attain a suitable surface by abrasive polishing. Many early efforts to reveal microstructure were, in fact, counterproductive because the experimenter did more to cover up the microstructure by burnishing rather than polishing procedure was developed by Henry Sorby, an Englishman who had a clear understanding of the need to remove surface deformation to reveal the true microstructure. His successful procedure was based on careful technique and the use of few natural abrasives that were available .His sound polishing methods, adoption of a transmitted light microscope for reflected light use and observations of ferrous microstructures earned him the title "father of Metallography."

The specimen procedures that evolved from the original work of Sorby were based on a closely graded series of successively finer abrasive steps.

The developments of synthetic abrasives papers were notable advances in metallographic technique at that time. The early procedures were lengthy but produced adequate polished surfaces on common alloys of steel, copper and aluminum.

As new engineering materials such as cemented carbides and nickel based super alloys were developed, individual metallographers devised their own "special" methods for preparing the new materials. This eventually resulted in the creation of literally thousands of specimen preparation "recipes". These recipes were published in articles or remained in unpublished notes in record books and files.

It was often difficult the right procedure for a specific needs without a tedious search through books and other literature. Furthermore, there was endless duplication and even contradiction regarding the steps required to produce well-polished samples.

Skilled metallographers employed a great deal of finesse in their successful procedures, but were often unable or unwilling to disseminate information regarding their techniques.

More recently even advanced materials such as high metal alloys, composites, ceramics and engineering polymers have appeared and micro-structural analyst is faced with even greater challenges than ever before.

These materials are often harder, tougher, more deformation prone or internally dissimilar to anything previously encountered. When micro-structural analyst attempt to apply existing techniques to the preparation of these new materials, the results are often unacceptable because the following types of micro structural damage may occur:

           * Pull-out (plucking) of friable constituents
           * Edge rounding along the periphery of the sample or around internal porosity
           * Micro structural relief at the edges of constituents having a hardness that is drastically different from the               matrix hardness.
           * Fracturing of brittle constituents.
           * Surface deformation (smearing ,plucking, microcracks, etc)

In addition, the procedures used required too many steps (even more steps than conventional materials), making them extremely labor intensive and costly. Attempts to adapt conventional sample preparation methods to advanced materials are usually based on the mistaken philosophy that says: the more the steps, the better the results.

In the early 1980's, BUEHLER recognized the need to find a better way to meet the challenge of the new materials which resulted in the introduction of Diamond Power Lapping.

In the early 1980's, BUEHLER recognized the need to find a better way to meet the challenge of the new materials which resulted in the introduction of Diamond Power Lapping.
 
 
 

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