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Field Metallurgical Replication

Field Metallurgical Replication is also known as In-Situ Metallography or Replica Metallography or Non-Destructive Metallography. The process of in-situ metallography involves the surface preparation with mechanical/electrolytic polishing methods to develop the true microstructure by a suitable etchant. Then microstructure is transferred to a plastic tape and examined under high-powered optical microscopes / SEM.

In-situ metallographic procedures are performed “on location” or in the “field” on components that are too large to bring to the metallographic laboratory. Generally, these components are still being used in service or must be returned to service and cannot be destructively sectioned or physically altered.

In situ metallography is required when the metallurgical damage must be evaluated on industrial equipment. The metallurgical damage to be evaluated in metallic equipment could be classified as creep, graphitization, precipitation of sigma phase, grain growth, etc. There is also the need for In-Situ metallography when repairs of equipment are being carried out in order to make sure that weldments of stainless steel are free of precipitation of second phases or if it is required the inspection of the microstructure, to meet the microstructural requirements of the standard.

The major application areas are power plants, petroleum and natural gas pipelines, and welding quality inspection for metal constructions.

The advantages of In-Situ metallography are as follows:

  • The technique is portable and can be used on-site.
  • In situ metallography can be used to monitor the quality of purchased components.
  • Replication techniques are non-destructive.
  • Replicas are ideal for both flat and curved surfaces.
  • The techniques can be applied to a wide variety of materials.