Metallography is the study of the structure of metals.  Metallurgists study the affect that the composition, thermal and mechanical processing, and the environment has on the structure. 

The structure of metals is usually evaluated using visual, optical, electron microscopy, x-ray spectroscopy,  x-ray diffraction examination techniques, and quantitative metallography.

Variables that affect the microstructure include the environment that the metal/alloy is in service, the composition, corrosion, cracking, the conditions that the metal/alloy is processed, machining, welding and more.


In most cases, metals, such as steels, copper, and aluminum, are composed of a collection of crystals and/or phases.  Metals can be formed from a single element, such as pure copper, or from two or more elements, such as brass (copper and zinc) or steel (iron and carbon). 

Metals formed from two or more elements are called alloys.  Crystals within the metal,  with different compositions and/or crystal structure, are called phases.  The composition, crystal structure, and the arrangement and shape of the crystals and phases control the properties (mechanical and chemical) of the metal.


Examples of Metallography (coming soon)