Structural Assessments

Structural assessments

Qualitative and quantitative structural characterisation for assessing the basic material properties and for assessing the heat treatment condition.

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Do you know the structure of your component?

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.

Light microscopic structural assessment at RÜBIG:

  • Sample preparation and performance of metallographic cuts (embedded warm or cold)
  • Performance of macro-cuts
  • Characterisation of the microstructure with suitable etching agents
  • Characterisation of the grain structure by means of the Baumann impression
  • Assessment of the quality of material manufacture and the heat treatment performed: Structural assessment of annealed, hardened, tempered, surface-hardened, case-hardened, nitrided, coated etc. components and tools
    • Assessment of the initial state of the structure
    • Determination of the microscopic degree of purity
    • Assessment of the carbide distribution in the base material
    • Determination of the grain size
    • Assessment of the rolling direction of a material
    • Assessment of the grain structure of forged parts (e.g. Baumann impression)
    • Assessment of the edge and core structure: Surface oxidation depth, surface decarburisation, overcarburisation, carbide, layer thickness measurement, soft skin, soft spot formation, etc.
  • Assessment of the manufacturing influence on the structure
    • Plastic deformation of the edge structure, e.g. due to blunt machining tools or unsuitable machining parameters etc.
    • Grinding burn, grinding cracks due to insufficient cooling, unsuitable grinding parameters, unfavourable structure of the initial state (residual austenite) etc.
    • Edge microstructure formation during spark erosion machining
    • Overforging, forged-in scale, etc.
    • Welded and soldered connections:
      • Root depression groove, weld humps, gap dimensions, weld penetration, structure of the individual weld areas
      • Soldering gap, solder brittleness
      • Pores, cavities, inclusions
      • etc.
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