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METALLOGRAPHY

METALLOGRAPHY AND MATERIAL TESTING

In the area of metallography, all the methods for the analysis of the microstructural and structural characteristics of metallic materials as well as for the analysis of non-metallic materials, ceramics, plastics and composite materials. Our analysis methods cover highly precise metallographic sample preparation, microstructure analyses, analysis of coatings, analyses of corrosion behaviour, weld seam analyses, hardness testing according to Vickers as well as the analysis of the alloy composition.

Optimise your processes with informative analyses

The analyses are undertaken above all to check and optimise production processes, prevent damage, investigate causes if damage occurs and for product development. An impressive range of analysis systems is available to ensure the best solution for your task. In most situations, a combination of various systems leads to informative results.

SAMPLE PREPARATION FOR MICRO AND MACROSECTIONS

With the aid of various cutting and preparation methods, it is possible for us to dismantle precisely individual components or entire assemblies and prepare the smallest damaged areas microscopically:

  • Special cutting systems for precision cuts, e.g. diamond wire saw for cuts in the range 0.15–0.5 mm without a heat-affected zone
  • Ideal combination of cold and hot mounting methods (electrically conductive and non-electrically conductive):
  • Typical fully automatic grinding and polishing methods
  • Fully automatic cleaning process for efficient and resource-saving cleaning
  • Manual or electrolytic polishing and etching using acids, lyes and bases
  • Production of metallic coatings and carbon or platinum based coatings

ANALYSIS METHOD FOR THE DETERMINATION OF MATERIAL CHARACTERISTICS

The analysis of material characteristics provides information about the suitability of the material for the planned usage, its quality and what needs to be taken into account during further processing. The component manufactured from a specific material or a combination of materials is examined and inspected in detail using a very wide range of analysis methods.

 

 

microstructure analysis

The microstructure analysis of the metallographically prepared specimen provides information about the characteristics and processing of a metal. The microstructure visible after the etching process provides information on the state of the tempering and the microstructure, deformation and segregation, as well as the contamination in the material

We check and assess the microstructure in relation to: particle size as well as particle boundaries, existing porosity, intermetallic phases as well as non-metallic inclusions and phases.

spark emission spectroscopy

Using spark emission spectrometry (OES), individual alloy elements are analysed qualitatively and quantitatively with the highest accuracy. The alloy composition identified is compared with the limits listed in the usual standards, the limits in the steel code, or customer requirements and evaluated. Our analysis report confirms or refutes whether the material has a specific material quality.

We can analyse the following alloys: iron, aluminium, copper, zinc, magnesium, titanium, cobalt, nickel

 

weld seam and solder joint inspection

Weld seams and solder joints are assessed in accordance with the standards for compliance with existing tolerances and evaluation groups. Surface irregularities are assessed based on a visual inspection and internal weld seam defects in a metallographically polished specimen.

Numerous techniques are used during weld seam and solder joint analysis:

  • Check on the weld seam geometry
  • Microstructure analysis
  • Hardness testing at the heat-affected zones

analysis of coatings

A very wide range of protective and function-related coatings are applied to sensitive surfaces, e.g. of electronic components and sensors. These surface coatings are used to retain the functional and optical characteristics of a surface and to protect it.

The analysis of protective and function-related coatings requires a broad range of analysis techniques:

  • Preparation in cross-section perpendicular to the coating plane
  • Light microscopic evaluation of the coating in the cross-section to determine the thickness of the coating and to analyse the fusion line between the base material and the coating
  • Laser scanning microscopy for the evaluation of the surface topography and surface roughness
  • Scanning electron microscopy to evaluate the surface of the coating and to determine the material composition of the coating
  • Determination of the microhardness of the coating in the cross-section or on the surface of the coating

hardness testing

We undertake the hardness testing according to Vickers as per the standard DIN ISO 6507. Microhardness tests can also be undertaken without problems due to the high-resolution evaluation system.

We also check the hardness profile of a component after heat treatment. The boundary layer hardness, case hardening depth and the nitriding hardness depth are determined in accordance with the standards.

corrosion

Corrosion is a physicochemical interaction between a metal and its surroundings. It causes the characteristics of the metal to change, a change that often degrades the metal or the technical system.

With the aid of damage analysis methods, many different types of corrosion are analysed and possible causes identified. Detailed knowledge of the related application is imperative during the analysis of corrosion behaviour. How does the material used behave in relation to the media around it, what are the operating parameters? Finding the cause of corrosion damage will minimise or completely exclude a repetition of the damage.

characterisation of surface topographies

Surface topographies of 3D microstructures are analysed and measured down to the nanometre range using the laser scanning microscope. Metals, polymers, semiconductors and multiple coating systems as well as many other materials can be depicted three-dimensionally and the surface roughness evaluated without contact.

  • Depiction and measurement of material wear, volume measurements of cavities
  • Analysis of surfaces of additively manufactured components or ceramic components
  • Measurement of coating thickness and composite polymer coatings
  • Evaluation of the quality and functionality of surfaces
  • Analysis of the surface roughness

FIB-SEM microscopy

Material removal is in the foreground on this scanning electron microscope, which is equipped with a focussed ion beam and a femtosecond laser. Preparations in the nano range make it possible to access structures and flaws deep under the surface; these structures and flaws can be depicted in high resolution and analysed.

scanning electron microscopy

Scanning electron microscopy makes possible the high-resolution depiction of surface structures and material differences.

Scanning electron microscopy is used during high-resolution microstructure analysis to determine the individual microstructure elements or to identify intermetallic phases, as well as for the assessment of fracture surfaces during damage analysis.

Typical applications are:

  • Assessment of the morphology of technical surfaces
  • Detection of changes in the surfaces due to external action, e.g. corrosion and wear
  • Undertaking fractographic analyses of fracture surfaces.
  • Morphological and chemical particle analysis

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT

In our test laboratory, we have a large range of versatile light, laser and electron microscopes as well as a hardness measuring machine and a spark emission spectrometer for metallographic analyses. For the preparation of samples, we have all the necessary systems for the appropriate preparation of very small components, such as circuit boards, and also large components, such as crankcases.

Our experience covers a broad spectrum of widely varying components and materials: metallic components of all types and sizes, ceramics, magnetic components, additively manufactured components, polymers, printed circuit boards, silicon wafers and other components from semiconductor technology or highly precise components from medical technology.

QUALITY ANALYSIS, YOUR PARTNER FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE AND MATERIALOGRAPHY

Do you need detailed cleanliness analyses to comply with requirements? Then you are in the right place.
We would be pleased to advise you about the numerous possibilities and combined analysis methods.
The goal: the best, most cost-effective and most efficient residual dirt analysis.
Call us, we look forward to hearing from you!

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