Inspectioneering Journal

Field Metallurgical Replication

By Leo Vega, Senior Associate at Stress Engineering Services, Inc. This article appears in the January/February 2011 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

Definition – A non-destructive sampling procedure, which records and preserves the topography of a metallographic specimen as a negative relief on a plastic film (replica).

What is Replication?

Field metallurgical replication is a form of non- destructive testing that has been around for several decades. It is possible for trained metallurgical technicians and engineers to perform the technique successfully. Proper technique is important to obtain valid replicas. It is designated by ASTM E 1351 as the Standard Practice for Production and Evaluation of Field Metallographic Replicas. Replication is used as a tool for evaluating microstructures and other surface features in lieu of laboratory evaluations. This procedure is performed using portable polishing equipment following modified laboratory procedures for the preparation of metallographic samples.

How is a field Replica Generated and Observed?

Proper surface preparation is very important. The objective is to create a “mirror image” structure of the surface macro and microstructures on a piece of special “tape” and to view the prepared microstructure, in-situ, through a microscope, as space permits.

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