Quantifying microstructural parameters has received considerable attention and success in developing procedures and using such data to develop structure/property relationships has been achieved. This article reviews many of the simple stereological counting measurements of volume fraction, grain structure (two-phase grain structures, and nonequiaxed grain structures), grain size, and inclusion content. It also reviews simple relationships between number of grains per unit area, number of intersections of a line of known length with particle or grain, and number of interceptions of particles or grains by a line of known length.
This article provides a general introduction of materials characterization and describes the principles and applications of a limited number of techniques that are most commonly used to characterize the composition and structure of metals used in engineering systems. It briefly describes the classification of materials characterization methods including, bulk elemental characterization, bulk structural characterization, microstructural characterization, and surface characterization. Further, the article reviews the selection of materials characterization methods most commonly used with metals.