The material properties of workpieces significantly determine workpiece machinability during manufacture and their strength during use. These material properties are largely influenced by the microstructure.
Quantitative and qualitative structure assessments are therefore important not only for the quality assessment of material properties but also for the detection of vulnerabilities inside the material, helping to prevent failure and defects.
A metallographic cut is required to see the interior of a material and analyse the structure. A sample piece must first be cut out of the component or out of the sample to facilitate structural assessment. For optimum handling and to ensure the required edge definition, the sample piece is typically embedded in plastic and then metallographically prepared (ground, lapped and polished). The microstructure becomes visible by etching the cut with suitable etching agents.