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This article illustrates how objective experiments and comparisons can be used to develop surface preparation procedures for metallographic examination of structural features of metals. These procedures are classified as machining, grinding and abrasion, or polishing. The article describes the abrasion artifacts in austenitic steels, zinc, ferritic steels, and pearlitic steels, and other effects of abrasion damages, including flatness of abraded surfaces and embedding of abrasive. Different polishing damages, such as degradation of etching contrast and scratch traces, are reviewed. The article explains the final-polishing processes such as skid polishing, vibratory polishing methods, etch-attack and electromechanical polishing, and polishing with special abrasives. An overview of special polishing techniques for unusual materials such as very hard and very soft materials is provided. The article concludes with a discussion on semiautomatic preparation procedures, providing information on procedures based on the use of diamond abrasives charged in a carrier paste and in a suspension.

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Mechanical Grinding and Polishing, Metallography and Microstructures, Vol 9, ASM Handbook, Edited By George F. Vander Voort, ASM International, 2004, p 257–280,

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