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Optical metallography, one of the most common materials characterization techniques, uses visible light to magnify structural features of interest. This article discusses the use of optical methods to evaluate micro and macrostructure and relate it to process conditions and material behavior. It covers the steps involved in sample preparation, including sectioning, mounting, grinding, polishing, and etching, and presents several examples of macro and microanalysis on various metals and alloys.

This article describes the various steps involved in image analysis, including sample selection and preparation, image preprocessing, measurement, and data analysis and output. It reviews various types of image analyzers and explains how operator bias and poor sample selection and preparation practices can lead to measurement error. It also examines several applications, illustrating how microstructural measurements can be used to assess quality control and better understand how processing changes affect microstructure and, in turn, material properties and behavior.

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