Met Tips: Metallography Made Easy

You need a smoothly running lab to efficiently analyze your samples, and LECO has you covered. We offer quality metallographic and optical solutions that seamlessly come together to give you results you can count on.

PX500 Rotating Single Sample Holder

Strong instrumentation is only part of the solution. Our support after the sale also plays a vital role in your lab’s productivity and helps keep you one step ahead. We do this through training classes, application support, friendly customer service, and helpful customer reference materials on a variety of topics.

We thought it could be fun to dive into our archives! Before our current application notes, we had “Met Tips: Ideas for Metallographic Procedures”, written in partnership with Dr. Lee Dillinger. Though most of these Met Tips were published almost 10 years ago now, they still hold up with useful information on various techniques that continue to be used in the field today!

Take a look at our few of our favorites below!



Nine times out of ten, material received in a metallographic laboratory in preparation for microscopic examination is either too big or too small to handle conveniently. Sectioning is the first step in the overall process of specimen preparation. It is a step that should be given considerable thought and care. Where the sectioning should be placed and the proper equipment to use should each be considered. Too often, the prime concern is getting the sample cut and not how cutting it will affect the sample. The result can be a severely damaged specimen that no amount of subsequent metallographic procedures can correct. Check out our best practices for sectioning here. 


What Type of Mounting Media to Use?

Selecting the proper mounting medium can make the difference between a mediocre and a well-prepared metallographic specimen. The reasons for mounting are many—it makes it possible to prepare very small specimens that ordinarily would be impossible to prepare; it produces flat surfaces necessary for microscopic examination; it allows multiple specimen preparation; it retains edges of specimens during the preparation stages; it prolongs polishing cloth life; the list can go on and on. Read our tips on what type of mounting medium to use here.


Polishing procedures tend to vary from lab to lab.  For instance, one lab may use as many as five polishing steps following the last grind while other labs may use only three, and still others only two. Yet all are processing similar alloy systems through their labs. Why such a wide variation? Does the lab using five polishing steps have better quality surfaces on their specimens? Are the labs that use only two polishing steps sacrificing quality for expediency? We investigate these factors in this Met Tip, read it here.

Topics: Metallographic Science