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Surface Desig

Materialographic structure and surface analysis.

Materialography is the qualitative and quantitative description of material structures. The aim is to analyse the microstructure and to connect it to the chemical composition, production process and post processing of materials like metals and ceramics.


The materialography is a pivotal step of the quality assurance and in failure analysis and is often applied during research and development processes. The know-how in materials science supports the material and product development.


During the materialographic preparation the specimen or the material is prepared for the subsequent microscopic structure analysis by creating a microsection.

Procedure for the preparation:

  • Cutting with a water-cooled low speed diamond cutting wheel
  • Embedding warm or cold, conducting or non-conducting
  • Grinding and polishing mechanically or electrochemically
  • Etching the microsection
  • Light or Electron microscopic examination

The individual steps need to be adjusted to the specific material. This preparation is essential for the quality of the subsequent analytical steps.

Quantitative metallography

The microscopic images of the microsection are evaluated by digital image analysis. The electron microscopic structure analysis serves for the materialographic and chemical structure and texture analysis:

A test report documents the microstructure, the grain size, the texture, the dimensions, the layer thickness, welded connections, the surface hardening, the corrosion, thermo-mechanical production processes and treatments.

Further characterization techniques

The amount of O, H and N in bulk material is determined by inert gas fusion method with high precision. The surface roughness and the hardness is characterized according to current international standards. Layer thickness is measured by Calometer. Crystallographic investigations by X-ray diffraction give important information about the crystal structure of the material.

Institute for Medical and Analytical Technologies

School of Life Sciences FHNW Gründenstrasse 40 CH-4132 Muttenz
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