ASTM E1180 - 08

    Standard Practice for Preparing Sulfur Prints for Macrostructural Evaluation

    Active Standard ASTM E1180 | Developed by Subcommittee: E04.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 03.01


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    Significance and Use

    The sulfur print reveals the distribution of sulfur as sulfide inclusions in the specimen. The sulfur print complements macroetch methods by providing an additional procedure for evaluating the homogeneity of a steel product.

    Sulfur prints of as-cast specimens generally reveal the solidification pattern and may be used to assess the nature of deoxidation, that is, rimming action versus killed steel sulfur distributions.

    Sulfur prints will reveal segregation patterns, including refilled cracks, and may reveal certain physical irregularities, for example, porosity or cracking.

    The nature of metal flow, such as in various forging operations, can be revealed using sulfur prints of specimens cut parallel to the metal flow direction.

    The sulfur print method is suitable for process control, research and development studies, failure analysis, and for material acceptance purposes.

    The intensity of the sulfur print is influenced by the concentration of sulfur in the steel, the chemical composition of the sulfide inclusions, the aggressiveness of the aqueous acid solution, and the duration of the contact printing between the acid soaked emulsion coated paper and the ground surface of the specimen (this time is the order of seconds rather than minutes). Very low sulfur content steels will produce too faint an image to be useful for macrostructural evaluations. Selection of appropriate printing practices including selection of type of emulsion coated media, acid type and strength, will yield satisfactory prints. Very faint images in the sulfur print can be made more visible by scanning the sulfur print into a PC, and using a photo editor to increase the color saturation. Steels with compositions that produce predominantly titanium or chromium sulfides will not produce useful images.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice provides information required to prepare sulfur prints (also referred to as Baumann Prints) of most ferrous alloys to reveal the distribution of sulfide inclusions.

    1.2 The sulfur print reveals the distribution of sulfides in steels with bulk sulfur contents between about 0.010 and 0.40 weight percent.

    1.3 Certain steels contain complex sulfides that do not respond to the test solutions, for example, steels containing titanium sulfides or chromium sulfides.

    1.4 The sulfur print test is a qualitative test. The density of the print image should not be used to assess the sulfur content of a steel. Under carefully controlled conditions, it is possible to compare print image intensities if the images are formed only by manganese sulfides.

    1.5 The sulfur print image will reveal details of the solidification pattern or metal flow from hot or cold working on appropriately chosen and prepared test specimens.

    1.6 This practice does not address acceptance criteria based on the use of the method.

    1.7 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific precautionary statements, see Section 9.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E3 Guide for Preparation of Metallographic Specimens

    E7 Terminology Relating to Metallography

    E340 Test Method for Macroetching Metals and Alloys

    E381 Method of Macroetch Testing Steel Bars, Billets, Blooms, and Forgings

    E407 Practice for Microetching Metals and Alloys


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E1180-08

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