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Fractographic information retrieval from oxidized or corroded fracture surfaces is very important in failure analysis. In order to determine the mode of failure, the surface oxides must be removed without destroying the original surface morphology of the fracture. Over the years, several methods have been utilized in the removal of surface oxides. However, chemical dissolution of the oxides coupled with ultrasonic cleaning has been the most effective. The effectiveness of two commercially available proprietary products and of orthophosphoric acid in the removal of surface oxides without destroying the fracture surfaces is discussed. Three case histories, in which each of the chemicals has been utilized, are presented. The fractographic information obtained in each case was supported by metallography. Orthophosphoric acid, when coupled with ultrasonic cleaning, is very effective in the removal of oxides from fracture surfaces.
corrosion, oxidation, failure analysis, fatigue, weld defect, oxide remover, metallography, fractography
Formerly, materials engineer, Systems Engineering Associates, Columbus, OH