Metallography and Microscopy
The Foundry Institute has very extensive metallography and analysis facilities, which it shares with the RWTH Aachen University-affiliated institute ACCESS e.V., and which have proved very useful, not only in the development of new materials and processes, but also in the analysis of casting defects and cases of damage.
Our state-of-the-art machine facilities include a range of high-precision separating machines, a hot embedding press, an electrolytic etching and polishing device, plus a number of state-of-the-art grinding and polishing machines. Special colouretching processes developed specifically for given materials enable the investigation of innovative casting materials, such as titanium, TiAl, NiAl, magnesium, aluminium, steels, cast iron and ADI.
The analysis and documentation of microstructures is executed using a range of light microscopes or high-resolution digital cameras. These include a ZEISS Axioplan 2-POL microscope and a ZEISS Axiophot (including POL and DIC), as well as an AxioCam HRC and a stereo microscope. Digital image analysis executed on digital photos provides detailed information about microstructure morphology and grain size. An innovation of particular importance is the possibility of comparing CAD datasets with actual castings using a Steinbichler 3D scanner with resolution down to 5µm.