This article describes the sectioning process, some general practices, common tools, and guidelines on how to select a cutting tool for a given metallographic sectioning operation. It provides a discussion on the consumable-abrasive cutting and nonconsumable-abrasive cutting methods for metallographic sectioning. Other methods, including the use of hacksaws, shears, burning torches, wire saws, and electrical discharge machining, are also reviewed. The article reviews the issues related to the specimen test location for certification work as well as process troubleshooting and component failure analysis.
Mounting of the specimen is often desirable or necessary for handling and metallographic polishing after the specimen is cut into an appropriate size. This article illustrates the different mechanical clamps used in mounting small specimens. It provides useful information on compression molded mounts, which are molded with thermoplastic and thermosetting resins. The article reviews several resins and their key factors, which help in the selection of the most appropriate mounting method and resin. It also discusses the characteristics of plastic mounting materials. The article provides information on the molds and resins used for castable mounts, vacuum treatment of mounts, special mount arrangements, and mount marking and storage.