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Electron fractography has recently become a valuable tool for studying the topographic features of fractures, and from it much new theoretical and applied information regarding the micromechanisms of fractures has been obtained. Prior to the use of electron microscopes, the unaided eye, optical microscopes, and metallographic cross sections were used to study fractures. These methods, however, have distinct limitations such as low resolution and small depth of field. Both of these limitations have been overcome with the electron microscope. Other tools are now being applied to fracture studies to complement the electron microscope. These include deep-focusing microscopes, electron microprobe analyzers, and scanning and reflection electron microscopes. The combination of all these tools has provided much new information, but it must be realized that electron microscopy as a tool for studying fractures is still essentially in its infancy, and it offers tremendous opportunities which, as yet, have not been fully explored.
fractography, fracture, election microscopy
Division chief, Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus Laboratories, Columbus, Ohio