What Is Metallurgical Analysis Testing, and Why Do I Need It?

Metallurgical analysis is the study of metal parts, or metallic components in non-metal parts. Essentially, it describes the makeup of your parts or components and determines their eligibility for their intended use. This is because when a metal is heat-treated, its structure can change. Metallurgical analysis looks at the parts on a microscopic level to make sure the composition is correct, or to identify the type of alloy the component may be.

Metallurgical analysis is designed to detect internal or surface flaws, evaluate the microstructure and ensure that the metal conforms to standards. The analysis can be done before or after a part fails, and it’s among the many metallurgical services in Gastonia, NC offered by J.F. Heat Treating Inc.

Types of metallurgical analysis

There are two types of metallurgical testing: destructive and non-destructive testing. As the names suggest, the type you choose will depend on whether you want your metal part to remain intact, or if you are testing the metal after a part has failed. Non-destructive testing can be accomplished by radiography or ultrasonic testing. It’s usually used to determine whether the part contains any flaws before it fails. Destructive testing takes those components out of service, so it is usually used to analyze why a metal component failed. Tests are performed on both a macro- and microscopic level.

Metallurgical analysis includes cutting, polishing, mounting and grinding the metal, and may include etching, depending on what the goal of the analysis is.

Often, corrosion is at the root of the failure, and having an analysis performed can give insight into what type of corrosion caused it and how to prevent it in the future. Other types of failure include stress cracking, fretting, erosion, creep, cavitation and more. Metallurgical analysis can also detect trace contaminants that lead to part failure.

When a part fails, it’s important to know exactly why so that the mistake isn’t repeated in the future. Corrosion costs have reached over $1 trillion annually in the United States alone, since 2012—a rather stunning number that shows the importance of metallurgical analysis. Given the amount of construction parts and building components that utilize steel, identifying failure risks before they can affect others is crucial.

Metallurgical services in Gastonia, NC

At J.F. Heat Treating Inc., we are proud to offer the full range of metallurgical and heat treatment services in our professional lab, as well as metallurgical analysis. Whether you need to harden, soften or carburize the metal, or need to analyze your components, we offer completely professional service for all types of steel products, parts and machines. Contact us today to get a recommendation on which process might be right for your steel components and products, or to determine what went wrong.

To set up your appointment or to find out more about the services we offer and the top-quality equipment we use, just give us a call. We can work with all types of metals, parts and machines, so just ask how our services will make your work easier!

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