Metallographic Sample Preparation Process – Everything You Need To Know

A metallographic sample preparation process is made up of several different steps, each one as important as the next. The first step in this process is metallographic sectioning or cutting. It is both a common and important first step because the original piece of material that needs to be sampled is usually too large for the next steps in metallography (polishing and grinding) to be done in a lab.

There are a choice of options and techniques available when performing a metallographic cutting procedure. Both large-scale machinery including manual and automatic features, and smaller-scale equipment such as Cut-off wheels can help to achieve good results.

4 steps in metallographic cutting

There are 4 steps to take when conducting a cutting, or sectioning, procedure on a sample item:

  1. Use a cut-off machine that has an appropriate cooling and rotating disc. Ensuring the right temperature will prevent surface deformation which will take time consuming steps to mitigate this fault.
  2. Your machinery of choice should feature excellent cooling systems. Maintaining the current temperature will preserve the chemical make-up of the material and present a genuine result.
  3. Adding a corrosion protection solution to the coolant is key to avoid surface oxidation to the sample. Not only can this alter the test results but can cause damage to the machine’s interior further down the line.
  4. You need to make sure that the model and size of the cutter including the cutting capacity matches the size of the sample that you need.

Top priorities in metallographic sample testing

By now you may know the importance of a functioning cooling system in a cutting machine. This follows second only to maintaining cleanliness of a metallographic machine, which should be a number one priority when preparing your metallographic sample. This includes both inside the cutting chamber and the draining system.

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