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Iron and Steel Metallographic Procedures

Metallographic etchant database

Iron and Steels

Description:
Iron and steels play an important role in the world of structural and mechancial metals. Steel, in particular, is very useful because its hardness, wearability and toughness can be altered significantly by heat treating and annealing processes. Steels can be classified into three categories for micrstrutural analysis based on their hardness.
  • (Soft Rc<30) Low carbon steels tend to be relatively soft and smear easily.
  • (Medium 30<Rc<45) Medium hard steels typically have a higher carbon content than the soft steels which makes them better materials for heat treating.
  • (Hard Rc>45) Unlike medium hard steels tool steels are generally alloys with elements such as vanadium, molybdenum and manganese.

Preparation Challenge:
Not particularly difficult to prepare, however when using SiC abrasive papers the sample must track over the entire diameter of the SiC paper to avoid uneven break down and thus creating uneven grinding across the mount.

Metallographic micrograph for slow cooled steel
Metallographic micrograph for fast cooled steel
Metallographic micrograph for fast cooled high carbon steel
Metallographic micrograph of Manganese vanadium tool steel
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