Microstructure of Historical Iron-Based Objects

Abstract

The study of historical metallic objects is greatly aided by a careful metallographic examination. In many cases, the objects have undergone serious corrosion over the years and the corrosion product must also be examined. Generally, this dictates encapsulation in a good epoxy mounting material. Specimen preparation is the same as for contemporary irons and steels, and the same etchants are used. This paper presents results obtained when a number of iron-based objects were studied. Color tint etchants are particularly useful in this work as they are more selective in nature, reveal the grain structure fully, while revealing crystallographic texture, if present, and are better for revealing chemical inhomogeniety and residual deformation than standard black and white etchants.

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Abstract

The study of historical metallic objects is greatly aided by a careful metallographic examination. In many cases, the objects have undergone serious corrosion over the years and the corrosion product must also be examined. Generally, this dictates encapsulation in a good epoxy mounting material. Specimen preparation is the same as for contemporary irons and steels, and the same etchants are used. This paper presents results obtained when a number of iron-based objects were studied. Color tint etchants are particularly useful in this work as they are more selective in nature, reveal the grain structure fully, while revealing crystallographic texture, if present, and are better for revealing chemical inhomogeniety and residual deformation than standard black and white etchants.

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resourcesThe articles and presentations that can be down-loaded from this web site are based upon work done by GFV while employed at Bethlehem Steel (1967-1983), Carpenter Technology (1983-1996), Buehler Ltd. (1996-2009) and Struers (2009-Present) and from the authors consulting work for companies such as, Latrobe Steel, Scot Forge, etc., and from his litigation work. GFV's bylined articles appearing in various issues of the ASM Handbook series have been listed here courtesy of ASM International, Materials Park, Ohio.

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