The metallographic or metallurgical examination enables a qualitative and quantitative description of the microstructure of metallic materials in order to determine the material properties.
In order to make the structure visible, the material must be ground, polished and usually etched. Afterwards it is examined either macroscopically (without tools or with a magnifying glass up to 10 times magnification) or microscopically (light microscope up to 1000 times magnification or electron microscope up to 10 000 times magnification).
This provides information about the manufacturing processes used, such as casting, welding, forming, hardening or coating. In addition, material defects such as cracks, pores or inclusions become visible.
Metallography is also an important pillar of damage analysis.