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PACE Technologies Metallographic Preparation CLASS Chart icon

Alumina and Sapphire Ceramic
Specimen Preparation (Class 10 Procedures)
Metallographic Class 10 sample preparation  

The preparation of hard/brittle/porous ceramic materials is not especially difficult with a few simple preparation tricks. First, to minimize grain pull-out (or fracturing in single crystals) which may be falsely characterized as porosity sectioning damage must be minimized. This is accomplished by sectioning with the appropriate diamond wafering blade and using the finest practical abrasive for initial grinding. Planar grinding is best achieved with the use of as small a diamond abrasive as possible on a metal mesh cloth. Note there is a trade-off between planar grinding time (abrasive size) and induced damage. In some cases for ceramics, it is better to take more time and minimize damage at planar grinding in order to reduce overall polishing times. The use of SIAMAT colloidal silica also provides a chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) action which is the most effective means for eliminating both surface and subsurface damage. The combination of SIAMAT colloidal silica with DIAMAT polycrystalline diamond also produces the required surfaces finishes.

SECTIONING
Diamond Wafering blade - medium 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
70 micron diamond grinding disk*
Water 5-10 lbs 200/200 rpm Planar
  Metallographic central polishing force
30 um DIAMAT diamond
suspension on CERMESH
Metal Mesh cloth
  5-10 lbs 200/200 rpm 5 min Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force
6 um DIAMAT diamond
on TEXPAN polishing pad
SIAMAT
colloidal silica
10 lbs 200/200 rpm 5 min Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force
1 um DIAMAT diamond
on GOLDPAD or ATLANTIS
polishing pad
SIAMAT
colloidal silica
10 lbs 200/200 rpm 5 min Metallographic individual polishing force Metallographic central polishing force
SIAMAT Colloidal silca
on TEXPAN polishing pad
  10 lbs 200/200 rpm 5 min 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 alumina
99+% Alumina, 5000X (thermally etched)

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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