National Physical Laboratory

Microstructural Assessment of Hard Materials

In many hard materials the microstructures developed during processing of the precursor powders are a reflection of the composition and processing conditions, and therefore microstructures provide key evidence of that process route. Preparation of a cross-section for examination of microstructure is a key skill we are able to offer following many years of experience during which we have optimised grinding, polishing and etching procedures to minimise artefact introduction and thus produce recordable images for detailed analysis and interpretation.

Our observation facilities currently include:

  • Macroscopes with rapid image capture systems
  • Optical microscopes with a full range of accessories, including image capture and image stitching facilities for montage work and high depth of field image generation
  • Field emission scanning electron microscope for high-resolution images of nanometre scale topographic features, such as pores, second phases and grain boundaries
  • Scanning electron microscopy with EDX and WDX analysis facilities for localised composition analysis
  • Electron back-scattering diffraction (EBSD)

For image analysis we have a K6000 image acquisition and analysis system with a 4000 x 4000 pixel image size.

For more information: Ken Mingard

Last Updated: 25 Apr 2012
Created: 25 Jul 2007


Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission