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During one semester in 1975, my Tuesday mornings were devoted to preparing, observing, and recording macrographs and micrographs of steels and cast irons under the guidance of Edil Patury Monteiro, with support of the book Metalografia dos produtos siderúrgicos comuns by Hubertus Colpaert. At the same time, I was being exposed to the theory of the kinetics of phase transformations with José Roberto Costa Guimarães. From this time on, Colpaert’s book became to me—as to many Brazilian students, technicians, and engineers—a fundamental reference in academic and professional life. A very well-balanced mix of textbook and atlas of metallographic structures, for decades the book has been the companion of Brazilian metallographers, metallurgists, and steelmakers. At the end of 2006, when Paulo Mei and I concluded the second edition of Steels and Specialty Alloys, I was honored by the invitation from our editor, Edgard Blücher, to consider updating the text and images of the Colpaert’s book. The opportunity to collaborate on incorporating technological developments to this outstanding book was an irresistible challenge.

Globally the steel industry is enjoying a time of rare expansion and vigor, with more than 1,400 Mt of steel produced each year and several years of significant increases in production. Furthermore, the production and processing of these iron-based alloys has reached an admirable degree of sophistication and control. In average quality steels, many elements are controlled to the level of parts per million in mass (1 ppm in mass is 1 g in 1 mt!) and the structure of the steels is controlled to a degree of precision never before experienced.

Metallography is one of the essential tools that made it possible to attain this degree of sophistication. It is a tool widely used in the whole field of metallurgy, in particular, for the whole spectrum of iron and steel products, from steel used in nails, springs, nuclear reactors and packaging and to cast irons used in engines, fittings, railroad parts, and so on. Metallographic techniques have evolved along with the steel industry. Besides the use of visible light, techniques that use other types of interactions with matter and in special interactions between electrons and matter have become common. Techniques aimed at quantifying structural features have also greatly evolved, and the past decade has seen a dramatic advance in the techniques of three-dimensional reconstruction of material structures. If during Colpaert’s time the breadth of knowledge and experience needed to write such a book were already rare—this being one reason for my respect for his work—in these days it is almost impossible for a single person to have all of the knowledge needed to bring this work up to date. Thus, the help and collaboration of many have been essential to creating an updated version with a depth and breadth comparable to the original work. Luckily the same fascination Colpaert’s work exerted over me is present in a whole generation of renowned metallurgists in our country. I met enthusiastic collaboration in companies, universities, and laboratories where people volunteered to help. This has certainly been one of the most interesting technical experiences of my career. A remarkable brotherhood of people interested in steel seems to exist all over the world; indeed, the willingness of people to help me, in Brazil and abroad, was outstanding.

To all of these collaborators, who have given essential contributions to this project, I offer my thanks in the next section.

Due to the difficult decision that had to be made regarding which images of the previous editions should be replaced or removed, Editora Blucher kept all of the old images available at their website.

I hope this revised and updated edition may be as useful to today’s metallurgists as the previous editions have been to me, and to a whole generation of enthusiasts of steel and cast iron development.


It is extremely difficult to decide the proper order for acknowledging all who helped me on this project. Each of the groups or individuals have in some way contributed to the success of this work. Some helped with images, some with encouragement, and others with discussions and suggestions.

In the first place, I must thank Edgard Blücher and Hubertus Colpaert’s family for trusting me with this task and staying with me along the way.

The support of colleagues from the steel industry in Brazil and other countries, with images and enlightening discussions, has been essential to this project. I present them by alphabetical order of the companies (using the company names in 2008).

In Brazil: Sergio Augusto de Almeida Ferreira, ArcelorMittal Aços Longos—Juiz de Fora; Francisco Boratto, ArcelorMittal Monlevade; Jardel Prata Ferreira and João Batista Ribeiro Martins, ArcelorMittal Brasil (Tubarão); Carlos Henrique Lopes, BR Metals Fundições Ltda.; Fátima Cunha, CBV-FMC—Rio de Janeiro; Walter da Costa Reis, Antonio Augusto Martins, Nilza Cristina S.B. Zwirman and Simone Pereira Santos, CSN—Volta Redonda; Luiz Antonio Iapichini and Cícero Tavares, FIBAM Cia. Industrial Ltda.—São Bernardo do Campo; Henrique Aché Pillar, MRS Logística—Rio de Janeiro; Mauro Souza, Neumayer-Tekfor—Jundiaí; Marcelo M. Moraes, NUCLEP—Itaguaí; Gerson Ronelli, PL Fundição e Serviços Ltda.; Marcelo Martins, Sulzer-Fundinox—Jundiaí; Wilson Guesser, Tupy Fundições S.A.—Joinville; Antonio Sérgio Fonseca, Alfredo Figueiredo, Ricardo Nolasco and Osvaldo Neto, V& M Tubes do Brasil—Belo Horizonte; Marcos Stuart, Edson Mendes Vieira, Celso Barbosa, Leonardo Sandor, Ismael Polidori, and Cristiane S. Gonçalves, Villares Metals S.A.—Sumaré.

Outside of Brazil: M. Nishimura, Daido-Steel Co., Japan; James Casey, Dofasco, Canada; Giorgio Polonioli, Metalcam, Italy (Breno); Tooru Matsumiya and Masaaki Sugiyama, Nippon Steel, Japan; Carlos Cicutti, Tenaris, CINI, Argentina.

Laboratories: Research institutes and academia in Brazil and abroad have been very generous, sharing images, clarifying points, and showing great patience with my many urgings and requests.

Following is the alphabetical order of countries.

Belgium: Frans Mampaey, Sirris.

Brazil: André Pinto, Instituto Militar de Engenharia—Rio de Janeiro; Annelise Zeemann, Tecmetal—Rio de Janeiro; Antonio Gorni; Antonio Jorge Abdala, IEAv, CTA—São José dos Campos; Antonio Ramirez, LNLS—Campinas; Carlos de Moura Neto, CTA—São José dos Campos; Carlos Sérgio da Costa Viana, Paulo Rangel Rios, Tânia Nogueira, and Carlos Xavier, EEIMVR-UFF—Volta Redonda; Fernando Rizzo, PUC-Rio; Fernando Landgraf and Hélio Goldenstein, USP—São Paulo; Luiz Henrique Dias Alves; Margareth Spangler Andrade, CETEC—Belo Horizonte; Hans-Jurgen Kestenbach, UFSCar—São Carlos; Ibrahim Cerqueira Abud, INT—Rio de Janeiro; Ronaldo Antônio Neves Barbosa and Dagoberto Santos, UFMG—Belo Horizonte.

Canada: Alec Mitchell, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

England: Graham Thewlis, South Yorkshire; H.K.D.H. Bhadeshia and Bill Clyne, University of Cambridge.

France: Bernard Marini and Caroline Toffolon, CEA; Jacques Lacaze, CIRIMAT, NSIACET, Toulouse.

Germany: Dietmar Lober; H.W. Viehrig, FZD, Dresden; Frank Mücklich and Alexandra Velichko, Universitaet des Saarlandes, Saarbruecken.

Italy: Paolo Emilio Di Nunzio, CSM, Roma; Stefania Bruschi, Università degli Studi di Padova, Padova.

Japan: S. Mizoguchi; Toshi Emi, IRIS, Sha-Steel; Fujio Abe, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS); Kiyohito Ishida, Tohoku University.

Netherlands: Jilt Sietsma, Technische Universiteit Delft.

New Zealand: Milo Kral, University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

Poland: Leszek Zabdyr; Janina Radzikowska, Polish Foundry Research Institute, —Krakow.

South Korea: Sunghak Lee, Pohang University.

Spain, Tomas Gómez-Acebo, San Sebastian; Jon Sertucha, AZTERLAN—Durango; Carlos García de Andrés, Carlos Garcia-Mateo, Carlos Capdevila Montes, and Francisca G. Caballero, Materialia Research Group, CENIM-CSIC—Madrid.

Sweden: Mats Hillert and Malin Seleby, KTH, Stockholm.

United States: Sridhar Seetharaman and Eric Schmidt, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; George Krauss, John Speer, Michael (Mike) Kaufman, John Chandler, Colorado School of Mines, Golden; Scott Chumbley, Iowa State University, Ames; Stephen W. Banovic and Ursula Kattner, NIST, Gaithersburg; Doru M. Stefanescu, Ohio State University, Columbus; Donald Koss and Zi-Kui Liu, Penn State University, State College; Alan Cramb, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy; Donald Susan, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque; Robert DeHoff, University of Florida, Gainesville; Christoph Beckermann, University of Iowa, Iowa City; Roger K. Pabian, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

I thank all of you for the friendship, support, encouragement, suggestions, advice, patience, and interest in sharing your remarkable knowledge about metallography and iron and steel products. This has made a tremendous difference in this new edition. To anyone I might have forgotten, my apologies and my thanks!

Whenever possible, I have tried to give the proper credit in all images and refer to the proper texts used as the basis of this publication. There will likely be mistakes, for which I apologize in advance.

Finally, I thank my family for the support, patience, and encouragement over the long nights and weekends dedicated to this project.

André Luiz V. da Costa e Silva
Rio de Janeiro, August 2008

Preface to the Fourth Edition, Metallography of Steels: Interpretation of Structure and the Effects of Processing, By Hubertus Colpaert;Edited By André Luiz V. da Costa e Silva, ASM International, 2018

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