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PACE Technologies Metallographic Preparation CLASS Chart icon

Soft Low Carbon Steels (ferrite and pearlite)
Specimen Preparation (Class 5 Procedures)
Metallographic Class 5 sample preparation  

1018 furnace cooled steel is a soft steel consisting of a pearlite and ferrite structure. The challenge in microstructural preparation of this material is the tendency for the material to smear. This smearing has a tendency to mask scratching which is more apparent following etching.

To minimize this effect of smearing, the use of tightly graded nanometer alumina with a polish-etch-polish sequence should eliminate this problem.

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

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

Abrasive/surface Lubricant Force/ sample Speed
Time Individual
Force mode
Central Force
120 grit SiC paper*
240 grit SiC paper*
Water 5-10 lbs 200/200 rpm Planar
1 min
  Metallographic central polishing force
360 grit SiC paper
600 grit SiC paper
800 grit SiC paper
1200 grit SiC paper
Water 5-10 lbs 200/200 rpm 1 min
1 min
1 min
1 min
Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force
1 um DIAMAT diamond
on GOLDPAD polishing pad
DIALUBE Purple Extender 5-10 lbs 200/200 rpm 2 min Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force
0.05 um Nanometer alumina
on TRICOTE polishing pad
  5-10 lbs 100/100 rpm 30 sec Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force

*Required for central polishing force. Click here for more information on central vs. individual polishing force polishing.

Metallographic micrograph of ferrite and pearlite
1018 Furnace cooled steel, 1000X (polarized light), etched
with 2% nital. Structure is Ferrite and Pearlite

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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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