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Boron Graphite Composite Specimen Preparation
(Class 1 Procedures)

Metallographic Class 1 sample preparation


Boron-graphite composites are very difficult to prepare. Although the boron fibers provide additional flexture strength to the carbon fibers, the boron provides a real microstructural preparation challenge. The most important step in the preparation of boron/ graphite composites is in sectioning. If the boron fibers are chipped and excessively cracked during sectioning it is impossible to remove the damage and maintain the planar surface required for metallographic analysis. Cutting with a fine grit diamond blade is essential. Figure 1 shows a properly cut specimen with a fine grit blade, where all of the fibers are intact. In comparison, Figure 2 shows the severe damage that occurs even with a medium grit blade. Planar grinding, rough polishing and final polishing require the use of diamond lapping films to eliminate edge rounding of the polymer/boron fiber interface. Figure 3 shows the final surface finish on a properly prepared boron/ graphite composite. Note that there is no relief at the boron/polymer interface and thus an accurate characterization of this interface can be made.

SECTIONING

Diamond Wafering blade - fine grit / low concentration

MOUNTING

Castable Mounting with Epoxy or Acrylic resins

POLISHING

Abrasive/surface

Lubricant

Force/ sample

Speed
(Head/base)

Time

Individual
Force mode**

Central Force
mode

3 um Diamond lapping film POLYLUBE Extender 5 lbs

200/200 rpm

Until plane Metallographic individual polishing force
1 um Diamond lapping film POLYLUBE Extender 5 lbs

200/200 rpm

3-5 minutes Metallographic individual polishing force
0.25 um Diamond lapping film POLYLUBE Extender 5 lbs

200/200 rpm

3-5 minutes Metallographic individual polishing force

**Individual force is recommended as planar grinding with larger abrasives produces irreversible damage. Click here for more information on central vs. individual polishing force polishing.

Boron graphite composite cut with fine grit wafering blade   Boron graphite composite cut with medium grit wafering blade

Figure 1. Fine grit diamond blade

 
Figure 2. Medium grit diamond blade

Metallography boron graphite composite

Figure 3. Boron graphite composite, Mag. 400X (B.F.)

ETCHING

Common Etchants
PACE Technologies Recommended Etchants

PACE Technologies Etchant Database

CAUTION:Safety is very important when etching. Be sure to wear the appropriate protective clothing and observe all WARNINGS on chemical manufacuters SDS (Safety Data Sheets). Also review the COMMENTS and CONDITIONS Section for each etchant.


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