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Stainless Steel Specimen Preparation

Metallographic etchant database

Stainless steels have high concentrations of chromium (>12%) and are generally relatively soft as compared to heat treated steels. This makes stainless steel more susceptible to smearing. Preparation is relatively straight forward.


MAXCUT Abrasive blade (Cat. No. MAX-E series)

Compression Mounting with Phenolic, Epoxy or Diallyl Phthalate compression mounting resins




Force/ sample



240 grit SiC paper
360 grit SiC paper
600 grit SiC paper
800 grit SiC paper
1200 grit SiC paper


5-10 lbs

200/200 rpm

Until plane
1 minute
1 minute
1 minute
1 minute

1 um DIAMAT diamond on GOLDPAD polishing pad

DIALUBE Purple Extender

5-10 lbs

200/200 rpm

2 minutes

0.05 um Nanometer alumina on TRICOTE polishing pad


5-10 lbs

100/100 rpm

1 minute


Metallographic micrograph of 431 Stainless Steel

431 Stainless Steel, mag. 400X, etched with Modified Murakami's

300 series cast stainless steel microstructure
300 Series Stainless Steel, 200X (BF), Etchant Oxalic Acid.
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