70 industry technicians deepen their knowledge on steel metallography techniques at IK4-AZTERLAN
The technical workshop “Introduction to the metallography of steels” focused on the microstructural analysis as a key tool for the quality control in the transformation processes of steel materials.
The seminar “Introduction to the metallography of steels” was held on 15th of May at IK4-AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre. The event was aimed at presenting the correct methods for the preparation and further metallographic analysis of steels, approaching simultaneously metallurgical concepts associated to the phase formation and transformation of their microstructure. This relevant working frame gathered 70 professionals from 40 different companies linked to various sectors related with the transformation of metallic materials.
With the active collaboration of experts from the companies LEICA MICROSYSTEMS and NEURTEK as well as from IK4-AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Centre, the attendees had the opportunity to know the different aspects linked with the metallographic analysis of steels, from basic iron metallurgical concepts to the correct preparation of the sample and the main clues for the interpretation of the characteristics observed by means of microscopic techniques. The training session had as well a practical workshop with the use of advanced equipment for preparation and analysis.
The speakers of the workshop (from left to right): Alejandro Ruíz de Alegría (NEURTEK), Dionís Díez (LEICA MICROSYSTEMS) and Jose Antonio Goñi (IK4-AZTERLAN).
The technical event began with the presentation of Mr. Alejandro Ruiz de Alegría, manager of the metallography area of NEURTEK, who introduced the main steps and keys for a correct sample preparation. Mr. Ruiz exposed different methodologies applicable for the cutting, forming, sanding, polishing and etching processes, along with their main advantages and disadvantages, depending on the characteristics of the metallic alloy.
The second presentation was carried out by the expert from LEICA MICROSISTEMS, Mr. Dionís Díez. After a short introduction to the world of steels that currently counts with approximately 3500 standardized qualities, Mr. Díez offered a master lesson of metallurgy. Beginning from the iron-carbon diagram as the basis of the complex behavior of iron alloys, Mr. Díez exposed the solidification reactions and the formation of diverse constituents and phases of Fe-C alloys, devoting special attention to the transformations of the microstructure depending on temperature and time, as well as on the different alloying elements that have a remarkable incidence on their final properties.
The theoretical part of the workshop reached to an end with the presentation of Mr. Jose Antonio Goñi, coordinator of the Metallurgy area of IK4-AZTERLAN, who focused his lecture in the most relevant aspects related with the granular structure of steels. The quantification and the analysis of the grain size require a great level of experience on metallographic techniques and specific equipment for a correct evaluation. In this field, Mr. Goñi underlined the factors and industrial processes that influence on the grain generation and alter the characteristics associated to the grain size of steels. This aspect has a direct influence on the properties of the material: “the finest the grain size is, the higher tensile strength, higher hardness level and lower susceptibility to cracking; on the contrary, the grosser the grain of steels is, the greater hardenability, greater conformability and greater resistance to creep”.
Jose Antonio Goñi, IK4-AZTERLAN Metallurgy area manager, during his presentation on the metalography of steels.
During the second part of the seminar, different practical sessions were performed using equipment for sample preparation and optical microscopy analysis. Attendees were able to test and get first hand information regarding the different technologies that can be used to prepare samples and to perform their metallographic analysis by means of real samples and case studies related to specific applications.