Skip to content

Carbon Steel - Metallographic Sample Preparation

Preparing carbon steel for metallographic analysis can be accomplished easily using OnPoint Abrasives' consumables and procedures. We have provided two step by step procedures for metallographic sample preparation of carbon steel below.

Sectioning: Section specimen with MultiSec abrasive blade or multi-purpose diamond blade.

Mounting: For best results, compression mount specimen using EpoMount epoxy powder. The high hardness of the epoxy will provide superior edge retention and promote flatness across the entire surface of the mount. For samples that require castable mounting, we recommend using EpoPro liquid epoxy system.

Grinding and Polishing: In this section, we've provided two methods for preparing your carbon steel specimen for analysis, Traditional Method and Advanced Method.

The Traditional Method uses a series of Silicon Carbide grinding papers to first planarize and then grind the surface to around 3-5 micron (1200 grit), before moving to polishing steps using suspensions and cloths. This method is effective for general purpose metallography, although it can introduce some relief, or rounding of the specimen's edge.

 Traditional Method for Preparing Low Carbon Steel
Step # Abrasive Surface Lube Load/Sample RPM Time
1 240 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

Until

Planar

2 320 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

01:00
3 400 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

01:00
4 600 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

01:00
5 800 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

01:00
6 1200 Grit SiC CarbiPro SiC Water 6 lbs

300 Base

100 Head

01:00
7 1µm Diamond Suspension ProDac Cloth Lube 5 lbs

150 Base

60 Head

02:00
8

0.05µm AlumaPro Alumina

0.04µm ProPrep Colloidal Silica

FinalFloc Cloth - 5 lbs

130 Base

60 Head

03:00

 Note: For the final step, alternate between AlumaPro alumina and ProPrep colloidal silica at 20 second intervals. Finish with a large dose of AlumaPro when 0:30 seconds remain. Clean specimen by gently wiping the surface with a cotton ball under running water. Repeat until all visible contamination is removed. Use of an ultrasonic cleaner is highly recommended for samples with high porosity content or intricate geometries.

 Advanced Method for Preparing Low Carbon Steel
Step #
Abrasive
Surface
Lube
Load/Sample
RPM
Time
1
240 Grit SiC
Water
6 lbs
300 Base
100 Head
Until
Planar
1.1
Clean specimen/holder Cotton Ball
Water
-
-
-
2 9µm Diamond Suspension MasterPlan Cloth
Water
5 lbs
300 Base
100 Head
02:00
2.1
Clean specimen/holder
Cotton Ball
Water
-
-
-
3 3µm Diamond Suspension
Water
5 lbs
300 Base
100 Head
02:00
3.1
Clean specimen/holder
Cotton Ball
Water
-
- -
4
-
5 lbs
130 Base
60 Head
03:00
4.1 Clean specimen/holder
Cotton Ball
Water
-
- -