Metallography is the study of the physical structure and components of metals, typically using microscopy. The surface of a metallographic specimen is prepared by various methods of grinding, polishing and etching. After preparation, it is often analyzed using optical or electron microscopy.
Using only metallographic techniques, a skilled technician can identify alloys and predict material properties. After polishing, certain microstructural constituents can be seen with the microscope, e.g., inclusion and nitrides. If the crystal structure is non-cubic (e.g., a metal with a hexagonal-closed packed crystal structure, such as Ti. or Zr.) the microstructure can be revealed without etching using crossed polarized light (light microscopy). Otherwise, using a suitable chemical or electrolytic etchant reveals the microstructural constituents of the specimen.
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