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ALON Ceramic Specimen Preparation

Metallographic etchant database

AlON is a dual phase material consisting of aluminum oxide and aluminum nitride phases. Proper microstructural preparation requires minimizing the relief that can occur in the aluminum nitride phase. Note some relief is helpful in microscopically mapping the aluminum nitride phase. Proper grinding is accomplished with as small a diamond abrasive as possible on a metal mesh cloth. Note there is a trade-off between planar grinding time (abrasive size) and induced damage. In some cases for ceramics, it is better to take more time and minimize damage at planar grinding in order to reduce overall polishing times. The use of SIAMAT colloidal silica also provides a chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) action which is the most effective means for eliminating both surface and subsurface damage. The combination of SIAMAT colloidal silica with DIAMAT polycrystalline diamond also produces the required surfaces finishes.


Diamond Wafering blade - medium grit / low concentration

Castable Mounting with Epoxy or Acrylic resins




Force/ sample



30 um DIAMAT diamond suspension on CERMESH Metal Mesh cloth   5-10 lbs

200/200 rpm

Until plane
6 um DIAMAT diamond on TEXPAN polishing pad SIAMAT colloidal silica 10 lbs

200/200 rpm

5 minutes

1 um DIAMAT diamond on GOLDPAD polishing pad

SIAMAT colloidal silica

10 lbs

200/200 rpm

5 minutes

SIAMAT Colloidal silca on TEXPAN polishing pad


10 lbs

100/100 rpm

5 minutes

Metallographic micrograph of AlON ceramic

AlON ceramic, B.F. 1000x (as polished)

Metallographic micrograph of AlON ceramic

AlON ceramic, 1000X (DIC), as polished.

ALON metallographic microsctructure
AlON ceramic, 200X (BF), as polished, half sputter
coated for increased reflectivity and contrast (left).
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