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The use of ultrathin sections, on the order of ⅙ to 1/10 the thickness of conventional 30-μm thin sections, constitutes a significant advancement in the characterization of brittle materials. At a time when greater emphasis is being placed on optimum resolution and interfacial characterization of brittle materials, this approach makes possible a whole new order of optical access to microstructural detail. With the evolution of improved mounting media and polishing equipment, ultrathin sectioning techniques have also improved to produce sections that reduce preparation time and operator dependence, Preparation methods and examples of materials examination using this technique will be discussed.
ultrathin sections, metallographic techniques, ceramics, ceramic composites, rock and minerals, transmitted light microscopy, metallurgical specimens, microstructure, metallography
Senior technical specialist, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, Richland, WA