Microstructure Examinations of Metals and Alloys


The microstructure of metals and alloys determines many physical properties of the material, such as strength, toughness, ductility, corrosion susceptibility and wear resistance. These properties in turn determine the application of these materials in manufacturing designs.

Analysis of a material's microstructure provides data to determine if the material has been processed correctly. These analytical methods offer information on a product’s reliability and, in the case of product failure, provides baseline criteria for root cause analysis.

When performing microstructural examination, there are several observational categories that help identify a metal or alloys composition and thermomechanical history. Among these are:

  • Grain size/orientation
  • Phase analysis
  • Constituent identificationmet-sample-view-450
  • Inclusions
  • Porosity

Also evaluated are the effects of processing on the material, such as heat treatment, diffusion processes, machining effects, casting imperfections, and weld verifications.

Microstructural evaluation is a valuable analytical tool for the aerospace, automotive and construction materials industry. The results of a thorough examination help predict environmental behavior, reactions to mechanical processes and appropriate final product applications.


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Related Microstructure Evaluation Methods

Alpha Case
Case Depth
Effective Case Depth
Grain Size
Inclusion Content/Rating
Intergranular Attack
Intergranular Oxidation
Light Microscopy - Macro, Micro & SEM Photography
Orientation in Microstructure
Porosity of Metals, Ceramics & Composites
Prior Austenitic Grain Boundary Determination
SEM Analysis
Surface Evaluation (Dubpernell Active Site Test ASTM B456 Appx 4)
Surface Topography
Welding Evaluation


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