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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Metallographic Cleaning Information

Intermediate Cleaning ] Final Cleaning ] Drying ] Cleaning Guidelines ] Anti-corrosion ] Trouble Shooting ] Product Description ]


Introduction

Cleaning and drying is perhaps the most underrated processing step in specimen preparation. Yet improper cleaning can lead to misleading results. Cleaning is required to remove polishing residue as well as particulates on the surface. Cleaning can be classified into two categories:

  1. Intermediate cleaning
  2. Final cleaning and drying
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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Intermediate Cleaning

Intermediate cleaning is important in order to minimize cross contaminaton of abrasives and swarf material. Intermediate cleaning is best accomplished with rinsing and ultrasonics. For the best results the specimen and holder should be cleaned with water and a cotton swab to remove excess abrasive and swarf. A secondary cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner and an appropriate surfactant (cleaning solution) is recommended for removing inaccessible abrasive and swarf which can be located in specimen cracks or pores, cavities in the mount, and in the specimen holder crevices. A tap water rinse is recommended in order to remove the surfactant. Air drying is recommended but not always required for this step.

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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Final Cleaning

Final cleaning is the most important cleaning step for removing residue prior to specimen examination. This cleaning step can be more difficult because of the tendency of the final polishing abrasives to crystallize or agglomerate on the specimen surface. Final cleaning should be performed immediately after or at the end of the final polishing step. For very fine abrasives such as SIAMAT colloidal silica and Nanometer alumina, rinsing the polishing pad with distilled or deionized water for the last 10-15 seconds of the polishing stage helps to mechanically scrub the specimen surface as well as clean the polishing pad.

For difficult to clean specimens, a cotton swab dipped in alcohol can be useful for scrubbing the specimen.

A similar procedure is also recommended following etching.

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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Drying

Following the pad/specimen cleaning it is recommended that the specimens be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and then dipped or sprayed with an alcohol solution. The alcohol replaces the water and allows for more efficient drying. Air drying with compressed air or in a heated oven produces dried specimen surfaces.

Corrosion Inhibitors

Corrosion or staining can occur if water remains on the surface or in any pores or gaps in the mounting resin. This corrosion can lead to water stains on the metal surface. The use of an organic corrosion inhibitor dip can eliminate this problem as well as protect sensitive surfaces from air oxidation over time.

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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Application Guidelines (Cleaning and Drying)

  • Apply distilled or filtered deionized water to the polishing pad for the last 10-15 seconds of the polishing sequence
  • Remove excess abrasive and swarf from specimen holder using a cotton swab and ultrasonic cleaning solution, followed by a water rinse
  • Ultrasonically clean with appropriate cleaning surfactant, followed by a water rinse
  • Dip or spray specimens with an alcohol solution, and dry with compressed air

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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Trouble Shooting Guidelines for Cleaning and Drying

Symptom

Cause

Action

Specimen surface has a thin "matte like" film

Thin coating of NANOMETER alumina particles

Lightly remove particles with a cotton swab and alcohol

Specimen surface has a crystallized residue on the surface

Most likely crystallized colloidal silica

Repolish and rinse polishing pad and specimen with water for last 10-15 seconds of polishing step

Water spots on specimen

Hard water rinsing

Lightly repolish and rinse with D.I. water followed by an alcohol rinse. Dry with compressed air

Pits in specimen after water rinsing

Water soluble phases corroding

Clean with organic solvents such as alcohol

Inability to completely dry specimen

Water seeping out of cracks or pores in the specimen or mount

Dip in an alcohol corrosion inhibitor. The corosion inhibitor provides a protective organic coating on the surface and the alcohol allows the liquid to evaporate faster from the surface of the sample


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PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables

Cleaning/ Drying Product Descriptions

CLEANING

Description

Quantity

Catalog Number

 

Ultrasonic Cleaning solution

32 oz (0.97 l)
128 oz (3.8 l)

UC-1000-32
UC-1000-128

Metallographic Cleaners

Ultrasonic Degreasing/ Cleaning solution

32 oz (0.97 l)
1/2 gallon (1.9l)
128 oz (3.8 l)

UC2-1000-32
UC2-1000-64
UC2-1000-128

Compressed Non-flammable gas
each
AIR-1000

Preserving Specimens for Storage

Description

Quantity

Catalog Number

Organic Corrosion Inhibitor (100X concentrate in IPA)

32 oz (0.97 l)

PCC-7500-32

Urethane Spray Coating
each
URE-1000
1.25-inch plastic Storage container
25/pkg
STORE-0125

PACE Technologies metallographic cleaning consumables



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Metallographic testing and Material Science failure analysis and quality control testing are used in industries that require produce reliability such as:

Metallurgical Testing Industries using Metallographic Analysis

Industries Metallographic Applications
Aerospace
Advanced Materials
Superalloys
Ceramic Matrix Composites
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Biomedical Devices
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Materials Science Education
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Mechanical Engineering
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Electronics
Solder Joint analysis
Integrated IC chip failure analysis
Printed Circuit board quality control
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Dielectric layer coating analysis
Automotive
Heat Treating
Metal Fabrication
Forging
Castings
Thermal Spray
Welding
Powder Metallurgy
Deep Drawing
Fastener Testing
Mining Metallurgical Testing Labs
Grain Size Analysis
ASTM E112
Porosity
ASTM A276
Phase Analysis
ASTM E566
ASTM E1245
Inclusions
ASTM E454
ASTM E1245
Graphite Nodularity
ASTM A247
Coating Thickness
ASTM B487
Decarburization
ASTM E1077
Welding Analysis
HAZ Sensitization
Twin Boundaries
Cracks
Dendrites
Corrosion
Carburizing thickness
Nitriding thickness
Intergranular fracture
Weld sensitization
Flow line stress
Microhardness testing
Rockwell hardness testing
Superficial hardness testing

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