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Metallographic contrasting methods include various electrochemical, optical, and physical etching techniques, which in turn are enhanced by the formation of a thin transparent film on the specimen surface. This article primarily discusses etching in conjunction with light microscopy and describes several methods for film formation, namely, heat tinting, color etching, anodizing, potentiostatic etching, vapor deposition, and film deposition by sputtering. It provides information on the general procedures and precautions for etchants and reagents used in metallographic microetching, macroetching, electropolishing, chemical polishing, and other similar operations.

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