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In the field of materialography, part of materials sciences, the structure of ferrous and non-ferrous materials (such as composites, ceramics, and plastics) is studied.
"Metallography" is the study of purely metallic materials.
Materialography wants to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze microstructures by means of various microscope technologies. Statements are made relating to the microstructure as well as to the properties of a material.
First step of the work process is the sample preparation. A material sample is prepared for the microscopic examination of its crystalline structure.
A scratch-free polished section providing a sharp and smooth sample surface is produced, allowing for a representative observation of the material structure. During the preparation, it is particularly important to avoid deformation, smearing, or scratches. Therefore, precise working is required using high quality grinding, polishing, and cleaning agents. Furthermore, depending on the observation criteria, the section may be etched using various solutions.
In general, the materials scientist needs a broad knowledge of material properties, material production, and further material processing in order to avoid preparation errors and errors during the structural analysis.
Materials scientists work in the fields of quality assurance, in failure analysis, and in the research and development domain.
The microscopic examination of the materials provides important conclusions on the production conditions and thus helps to assess production processes as well as to shed light on cases of failure. Moreover, the results of materialographic research build the basis for the development of new materials that are optimally adapted to their respective operating conditions.
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