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Zirconia Engineering Ceramic Specimen Preparation

Metallographic etchant database

Partially stabilized zirconia is actually a fairly easy material to prepare. Care must be taken not to produce excessive damage during cutting and initial grinding which may cause the stress induced crystal structure from the tetragonal phase to the monoclinic phase. To minimize sectioning damage it has been found that cutting zirconia at high loads (feed rates) and high speeds provides the best combination. Rough grinding is then accomplished with a metal mesh cloth and 30-micron polycrystalline diamond. Rough polishing with a POLYPAD pad or TEXPAN pad using a combination of 6-micron polycrystalline diamond and SIAMAT colloidal silica provide a chemical-mechanical-polishing (CMP) action. Final polishing on a DACRON cloth with 1-micron diamond and colloidal silica produces a surface ready for microstructural etching and examination.


Diamond Wafering blade - medium grit / low concentration

Castable Mounting with Epoxy or Acrylic resins




Force/ sample



30 um DIAMAT diamond suspension on CERMESH Metal Mesh cloth   5-10 lbs

200/200 rpm

Until plane
6 um DIAMAT diamond on TEXPAN polishing pad SIAMAT colloidal silica 10 lbs

200/200 rpm

5 minutes

1 um DIAMAT diamond on GOLDPAD polishing pad

SIAMAT colloidal silica

10 lbs

200/200 rpm

5 minutes

SIAMAT Colloidal silca on TEXPAN polishing pad


10 lbs

100/100 rpm

5 minutes

Metallographic micrograph of zicronia ceramic

Yittria stabilized Zirconia, 15,000X, thermally etched

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