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Microstructure Analysis & Metallography

Motor Shaft Spline Gear - Longitudinal

An electrical motor shaft spline gear, mounted longitudinally to show the depth of induction hardening (dark).

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Large Gear

This is a cross-sectioned gear, etched to show tooth case depth.

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Microstructure Analysis & Metallography is usually conducted to determine a material's response to thermal heat treatment. The sample to be studied is often wet abrasive sectioned, cleaned and mounted in bakelite or a resin to hold it during grinding and polishing.

The microstructure is revealed by selective etching with the appropriate acid solution and observed using an optical microscope. Every metal and nonmetal has a preferred microstructure created or modified by processing and heat treatment. Microstructure is the "fingerprint" of material processing.


The following terms relate to Microstructure Analysis and Metallography:

Heat Treatment
Heating and cooling a solid metal or alloy in such a way that desired structures, conditions, or properties are attained. Heating for the sole purpose of hot working is excluded from the meaning of this term.
The structure of a prepared surface of a metal as revealed by a microscope at a magnification greater than 25 diameters.
An optical instrument designed for both visual observation and photomicrography of prepared surfaces of opaque materials at magnifications ranging from about 25 to 15000 diameters.

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