The Study of Fracture Surfaces With the Scanning Electron Microscope 690528
Direct examination of fracture surfaces is essential for understanding the mode and cause of failure. Low power optical microscopy, however, cannot reveal details at magnifications greater than 50x; the indirect technique of replica examination in transmission electron microscopy, while extensively used, requires considerable time and skill in preparing and handling the replicas and interpreting results.
The scanning electron microscope provides a unique tool for fractography because of its large depth of focus, wide range of useful magnifications, and satisfactory resolution. The technique is direct and fast, requiring very little specimen preparation, and the results are straightforward to interpret.
These techniques are discussed with examples of fractography on tool and composite materials.