Working Group of the Expert Committee Materialography
Component Metallography

Component metallography allows microstructural characterization and surface examination in an almost non-destructive manner and offers almost unlimited application possibilities. The availability of the test results is fast and flexible. All preparation steps are performed directly on the component and the microstructure and damage state are recorded either directly on site or via impression techniques. The Working Group and an annual training seminar offer opportunities for exchange and assistance concerning the application of adequate preparation procedures, microscopic methods, and the analysis, evaluation, and documentation of microscopic examination results. Here, experts from industry as well as accessory manufacturers are brought together with experts from colleges and universities: in technical discussions and in the practical exchange of experience.

Ambulatory metallographic testing methods play an important role in the operational quality assurance of large machine components, in power plant service, chemical plant construction, and many other industrial sectors. This type of testing allows statements to be made on the structural condition or microstructural defects almost non-destructively, without taking samples. This applies, for example, to components in operation, such as pipes in power plants or large turbine blades or turbine housings, where destructive sampling is not possible due to the high production costs. Ambulatory metallography, also called component metallography, was developed for this field of application. Here, no sample is transported to the laboratory microscope in the stationary metallography laboratory. Grinding, polishing and etching are performed with portable equipment directly on the component, and microstructural analysis is performed with portable microscopes on site or via impression techniques.

The focus of the activities in the Working Group and advanced training seminar includes the basics of preparation techniques and preparation of an ambulatory examination as well as the additional ambulatory testing methods such as spark spectrometers for chemical analysis or mobile hardness testing. Besides, there will be an exchange concerning the current status of applicable guidelines and standardization in Germany and abroad (e.g. VGB-S-517). In the advanced training seminar, numerous examples will be practiced and the microstructure imprints on different material states, on defects and cracks for different material classes will be taken and evaluated based on concrete examples from practice, e.g. for the microstructure control of large gas turbine components, on components subjected to pressure loads and components operated in the creep range.


  • The main objective of the Working Group Component Metallography is to hold the annual training course of the same name. This has been held on the premises of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin since 2009 and can look back on a long tradition. The seminar contents are imparted by various teams of speakers from different areas of industry and research.

  • The Working Group and the advanced training seminar offer systematic assistance in achieving perfect test results in component metallography. Achieving reliable results requires optimal preparation, mastery of special working and processing techniques, and manual skills. Besides, there is the appropriate evaluation and assessment of the results obtained. This knowledge is usually only taught to a very limited extent in industrial metallographic vocational training, and not in academic training courses anyway. They must therefore be learned "on the job" if necessary.

  • The Working Group also aims to support networking in the professional community and to create an exchange platform for this purpose. The members of the Working Group come from different areas of industry and science and, due to their different specialties and main fields of work, have very different experiences from which all colleagues in the field can benefit.

  • In the Working Group, but above all in the training seminar, metallographic equipment suppliers will increasingly be represented as active contributors, so that participants and interested parties receive professional assistance in the selection of suitable preparation equipment as well as accessory materials.

  • Finally, using technical discussions and exchange of experience, the Working Group would like to contribute to the updating and further development of existing regulations concerning component metallography (e.g. VGB-TW 517).

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