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Microstructural Analysis

The Microstructural Analysis Lab of Centro Sviluppo Materiali S.p.A is equipped with all the standard apparata for the industrial research on materials.

The complete set of measurement and analysis equipments of the Lab allows our researchers to deal successfully with all topics related to the metallurgy of metallic materials and alloys, the design of surfaces and, more in general, all aspects of the materials technology, from low-graded steel to new advanced metallic alloys or ceramics, where porosity, bainitic or intermetallic microstructures, the right shape-factor or volumetric fraction and interfaces are the key factors affecting the the good performance of the material.
The Lab strategically supports other CSM capabilities, like mechanical testing, in searching and explaining the mechanisms at the base of the behaviour of the material under static or dynamic applied loads.
This Lab also supports process and automation engineers and company quality functions in their selection of the correct setting of lines, by designing highly evoluted algorithms for the process control, or in removing expensive, dangerous and image-spoiling failure causes.
The Microstructural Analysis Lab may take advantage of the following facilities:
  • A Scanning and Transmission Microscope (STEM) aimed at detecting nanometer-sized precipitates, dislocation density , chrystallography of matrices and second phases, both through thin film and extraction replica methodologies. Through the Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) the STEM is able to detect all the chemical elements of the periodic table;
  • Five Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM), equipped with EDS devices allowing to accomplish the qualitative and semiquantitative chemical analysis of specimens to directly analyse fracture surfaces, oxides, precipitates, etc.. Two of those devices are furtherly equipped, respectively, with a Wavelength Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometer (WDS) and an Electron Back Scattered Diffrattometer (EBSD), through which it is possible to have information on the crystallographic structure of matter;
  • A set of four Optical Microscopes (OM), two of which equipped with computer equipment for the image acquisition and data elaboration of the specimen and to extract statistical values relating microstructures to mechanical features;
  • One Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA) device allowing investigation of material surfaces and, when coupled with a sputtering gun, the first nanometers layers underneath;
  • One Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (GDOES) empowers the ESCA capabilities by going deeper onto the surface, from some nanometers to several hundreds of microns, so giving the concentration profiles of all the chemical elements;
  • Five XRD devices for steels and other crystalline materials phases, microstructures and grain orientation identifications. These apparatus supply polare figures and the calculation of oriented distribution function (ODF).
The latest two apparata are complemetary and their integration allows to deal with all the problems related to such surface processes as oxidation , decarburisation, etc.. thus providing metallurgists and surface engineers with a powerful instrument for the support of material design and the solving of quality problems.
The lab endowment is completed by a whole set of durometers and microduremeters (HV, Rc), and by a subsidiary laboratory devoted to the preparation of specimens.

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