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Microstructural analysis reveals many important details about the qualities and capabilities of high-performance ceramics. This article explains how to prepare ceramic samples for imaging and the imaging technologies normally used. It describes sectioning, mounting, grinding, and polishing as well as ceramographic etching. It discusses common imaging approaches, including scanning electron microscopy and thin-section polarized light techniques, a type of optical microscopy. The article also addresses microstructural classification, examining detailed micrographs from samples of aluminum oxide, zirconium dioxide, aluminum nitride, silicon carbide, and piezoelectric ceramics.

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