Metallographic specimens are prepared by mounting a piece of the metal in a resin and polishing the sample to examine metal grain structure, plating layers, secondary phases, corrosion paths and other material properties. The samples are rough ground with various levels of silicon carbide papers followed by fine grinding and finish polishing using diamond pastes or slurries.

Specific etchants are used to highlight features such as grain boundaries, phases and inclusions. Examination of the polished specimens is done with reflected light microscopes or scanning electron microscopes.

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