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The basic mechanism of mechanical specimen preparation has remained unchanged for decades, but certain refinements have enhanced the art—the most noticeable being in the greater effort to minimize surface distortion and artifacts. This is manifest in the general tendency toward the use of “hard” cloths, accurately graded and sharply cutting abrasives, and slower wheel speeds. The widespread use of diamond powders particularly emphasizes this tendency. Appreciable attention is also given to the pH of polishing media to prevent undesirable etching effects.
Recent approaches are represented by improved equipment for automatic polishing and for electrolytic polishing. There is an increase in the use of polishetch techniques, and now chemical polishing has been added to the nonmechanical methods of preparation.
Wyman, L L
Chairman, Committee E-4 on Metallography; Head, Chemical Metallurgy Section, Metallurgy Division, National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D. C.