Scanning Electron Microscope



TCR has the latest

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

that is attached to an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) system. SEM is a great diagnostic tool for:

  • Failure Investigation
  • Fractography
  • Quality Control
  • Morphology and Identification of Localized Defects
  • Identifying Corrosion products at Microscopic levels
  • Identifying Surface Coating or Plating
  • Particle Size & Shape Analysis
  • Characterizing Creep in Microstructure
  • Identifying Submicron Features in Microstructure
  • Identification of Inclusions in metals

TCR Advanced has the SEMART SS-100 that offers a simple and extremely user-friendly operating console equipped with a turbo-molecular pumping system to achieve a high vacuum that requires absolutely no time to start-up. The

EDS Analyzer

X-Max 20 is a versatile X-Ray spectrometer system, which does not require liquid nitrogen for its operation. This reduces the start time for EDS-accelerating voltages and lower spot sizes resulting in improved accuracy and quantification of elements that sometimes, can be a limitation for the conventional EDS detectors with 10-mm² areas.

Scanning Electron Microscope

Metallurgical Evaluation

The metallurgists at TCR have deep expertise in Metallographic preparation and examination to evaluate the characteristics of metals. They are highly skilled to assess a particular material’s heat treatment condition, microstructure, and forming process. The team undertakes macro and micro examination including Weld Examination, Case Depth and Decarburization Measurement, Micro Hardness Testing and Coating/Plating evaluation.

The Metallography department employs the Inverted Metallurgical microscope, Olympus GX51 and the Leco 500 microscope with an Image Analysis System. The technical team has indigenously developed a microstructure characterizer software that assists with the analysis of images to determine microstructural degradation due to creep. The software can also calculate the graphitization, depth or width of decarburization, phase/volume percentage, grain growth, inclusion rating, particle size, volume percentage, particle count, porosity and coating thickness.


TCR undertakes metallurgical evaluation using SEM, EDAX, XRD and TEM technologies

The ambit of frequently tested services in the TCR metallography lab include:

  • Microstructure examination (Routine) with two photographs
  • NDT microstructure with two photographs
  • Microstructure with a comment on heat treatment
  • Microstructure examination for failure related study
  • Grain size distribution chart on image analysis (with print out)
  • Prior austenite grain size measurement (including heat treatment charges)
  • Prior austenite grain size measurement by Mc Quid Ehn method (including carburizing)
  • Oxide-scale/Nitriding/Carburizing/Decarburizing/ Coating – Measurements. (Avg. of 3 readings), over and above microstructure examination charge
  • Grain size measurement as per ASTM E112 with a photograph
  • Linear measurement, up to 3 measurements, over and above macrostructure/microstructure examination charge
  • Each Additional linear measurement
  • Inclusion Rating as per ASTM E45 Method A with the photograph
  • Inclusion rating as per ASTM E45 with the photograph
  • Color Metallography (With two Photos)
  • Delta ferrite from SS weld microstructure, Sigma phase, volume fraction by microstructure examination (Avg. 3 frames)
  • % Nodularity, Nodule Count as per ASTM A247 and IS 1865
  • Porosity Analysis as per ASTM A 276
  • Decarburization level as per IS 6396 and ASTM E 1077
  • Phase distribution as per ASTM E 562 / 1245
  • Powder particle size measurement (Avg. 5 Frames)
  • Coating thickness measurement as per ASTM B 487
  • Retained austenite measurement with electro-polish and copper deposition method, and calculation on image analysis software from microstructure examination. (Avg. 3 Frames)
  • Micro-Hardness testing
  • Microhardness profile for case depth measurement (Max. 10 Readings)
  • Macro etch test up to 100 Mm (Including photo & comments)
  • Macro etch test between 100 To 200 Mm (Including photo & comments)
  • Macro etch test over 200 Mm (Including Photo & Comments)
  • Fractography by stereo microscope
  • Fractography by SEM
  • Coating thickness by SEM
  • Microstructure examination test with photographs, grain size comment on carbide precipitation, nitrides & intermetallic phases In Haz, parent, weld as per A-923 method A, ASTM E-45 for inclusion rating
  • Hydrogen embrittlement on copper
  • Ferrite As Per ASTM E562 per phase per sample
  • Intermetallic phase (Chi, Sigma, Laves Nitrate Carbide) per phase per Sample
  • Intermetallic phases In weld, parent material (PM), heat affected zone (HAZ) per phase per sample
  • Microstructure test with photograph (For Sigma Phase)
  • Microstructure test with photograph (For Ferrite Content)
  • Analysis of a given SEM image for particle size and particle size distribution (Max/Min, Size/Frequency Information) of the dispersed phase in a continuous phase Matrix.
  • Cost To prepare the ample for placement In SEM sample chamber
  • SEM Analysis with Single Image
  • Delta ferrite measurement by Ferritscope
  • Pit dimension measurement
  • EDAX / EDS analysis
  • XRD analysis
  • In-Situ replica interpretation only on a client supplied replica. (Please Note: TCR will not be held responsible for accurate data interpretation in areas where a TCR technician has not taken the replicas
  • Structural examination charges (As Per 6.1)
  • Structural examination (Each additional measurement)
  • Inclusion rating as ASTM E45 – method D (Set Of Six Specimen)
  • Volume fraction measurement (30 Frames) as per ASTM E 562
  • Microstructure as per A 923 Method A
  • Microstructure carbide network as per SEP 52100 chart (Heat Treatment Charges Are Extra)
  • In-Situ metallography
  • Step macro without a photograph – each step
  • Step macro with a photograph – each step
  • Macro measurement (MLP/Penetration) -Each
  • Depth of attack
  • Banding index
  • Intermetallic Phases – charges on request coating/ plating thickness/mesh size
  • Austenitic grain size with photographs (Up To 3 Samples)

Metallography Tests at TCR



In Macro-etching a specimen is etched and macro-structurally evaluated at low magnifications. It is a frequently used technique for evaluating steel products such as billets, bars, blooms and forgings. There are several procedures for rating a steel specimen by a graded series of photographs, showing the incidence of certain conditions and is applicable to carbon and low alloy steels. A number of different etching reagents may be used depending upon the type of examination. Steels react differently to etching reagents because of variations in chemical composition, the method of manufacturing, heat treatment, and many other variables.

Macro-Examinations are also performed on polished and etched cross-sections of welded material. During the examination, a number of features can be determined including the weld run sequence, which is vital for weld procedure qualifications tests. Apart from this, any defects on the sample are assessed for relevant specifications and compliance. Slag, porosity, lack of weld penetration, lack of sidewall fusion and poor weld profile are among the features observed in this type of examination. It is procedural to identify such defects, either by standard visual examination or at magnifications of up to 50X. It is also routine to photograph the section to provide a permanent record and this is known as a photomacrograph.



This is performed on samples that are either cut to size or mounted on a resin mold. These samples are polished to a fine finish, typically a one-micron diamond paste and prior to an examination on the metallurgical microscope, it is usually etched in an appropriate chemical solution. Micro-examination is performed for a number of purposes, the most common of which is to assess the structure of the material. It is also customary to examine for metallurgical anomalies such as third phase precipitates, excessive grain growth, etc. Many routine tests such as phase counting or grain size determinations are performed in conjunction with micro-examinations.


Weld Examination

Metallographic weld evaluations take place in many forms. In its most simple format, weld deposits can be visually examined for large-scale defects such as porosity or lack of fusion defects. On a micro scale, the examination can take the form of phase balance assessments from weld cap, weld root or can even be checked for non-metallic or third phase precipitates. Examination of weld growth patterns is also used to determine the reasons for poor mechanical test results. For example, an extensive central columnar grain pattern can cause a plane of weakness, giving poor charpy results.


Case Depth

Case hardening may be defined as a process for hardening ferrous materials in such a manner that the surface layer (known as the case) is substantially harder than the remaining materials (known as the core). This process is controlled through carburizing, nitriding, carbonitriding, cyaniding, induction, and flame hardening. The chemical composition and mechanical properties are affected by these practices. The methodology utilized for determining case depth can either be chemical, mechanical or visual and the appropriate one is selected based on specific requirements.


Decarburization Measurement

This method is designed to detect changes in the microstructure, hardness or carbon content at the surface of steel sections due to carburization. To determine the depth, a uniform microstructure, hardness or carbon content of the specimen interior is observed. This method detects surface losses in the carbon content due to heating at elevated temperatures


Coating / Plating Evaluation (ASTM B487, ASTM B748)

A coating or plating application is used primarily for the protection of the substrate. Thickness is an important factor in the performance of the coating or plating. A portion of the specimen is cut, mounted transversely and is prepared in accordance with acceptable or suitable techniques. The thickness of the cross section is measured with an optical microscope. When the coating or plating is thinner than .00020, the measurement is taken with the scanning electron microscope. Cross-sectioned metallographic examinations of substrates with plating, surface evaluations, thickness measurements, weight per volume and even salt spray testing can aid in the evaluation of plating.


Surface Evaluation

The surface inspection includes the detection of surface flaws along with the measurement of surface roughness. One of the methods used to perform this test is the use of laser light. Measurement and analysis are possible when scattered light is reflected off the surface of a sample. An alternative method is the use of a motorized stylus (profilometer), where it is placed on the surface and the texture of the material is measured in micro-inches or millimeters.


Grain Size Determination

In order to establish a scale for grain size, ASTM E112 shows charts with outline grain structures for various dimensions. These universally accepted standards range from 1 (very coarse) to 10 (very fine). A material's grain size is important as it affects its mechanical properties. In most materials, a refined grain structure gives enhanced toughness, and alloying elements are deliberately added during the steel-making process to assist with grain refinement. Grain size is determined from a polished and etched sample, using optical microscopy at a magnification of 100X

Microstructure Characterizer Software

Metallurgical Image Analysis Software

TCR Advanced has developed the Microstructure Characterizer Software, which is an image analysis tool. Using this software, a metallurgist or a material science engineer can characterize different types of microstructural images for grain size, coating thickness, and phases; they can get images from one or more files, and intensify the image using the filtering and enhancement features.

Microstructure Characterizer Software 3.0 (MiC) characterizes microstructural features using standard methods of material characterization such as ASTM grain size measurements, coating thickness, linear and angular measurements, comparison of superimposed grain size reticules, inclusion rating as per IS and ASTM standards, nodularity measurements, powder particle size distribution and so on. It helps generate custom-made reports of live and stored images and shows results on the computer display as well as multi-color printouts.


TCR Advanced has had extensive deployment experience with the deployment of the software at more than 295 commercial laboratories and universities till date. Custom modifications to this software can be done in conjunction with the engineering consulting team at TCR