Part of the Oxford Instruments Group
Automotive & Aerospace
Steel Cleanliness Analysis using EDS

The use of speciality steels in automotive industry is becoming increasingly widespread. These speciality steels have improved mechanical behaviour including improved toughness, macinability, ductility and fatigure life so that they can perform better in forming of automotive body part. An important controlling factor for this superior behaviour is the cleanliness of the steel. A demand of cleaner and ultraclean steels increases, there is a requirement to detect smaller and smaller inclusions in larger sample areas and a full understanding of even the smallest inclusions is now critical.

Steel Cleanliness Analysis using EDS

Methods have been developed using light optical microscopes to classify steels by counting and measuring the inclusions present. However this requires time and expertise limits the minimum inclusion size and lacks chemical data.

This demand is best addressed with SEM equipped with EDS and dedicated particle analysis software. The use of SEM and EDS adds further precision as morphology can be more precisely determined (micro or nano-scale) and chemical information is available

AZtecSteel is an automated package developed specifically for the analysis and classification of steel inclusions.

It automatically locates and analyses morphology and composition of inclusions, classifying and reporting results to a choice of international standards.


Here is an inclusion analysis in steel, composition and morphology are measured in real time. The images on the right show that aluminium and Titanium oxides are forming in the core of inclusions and are enclosed by mechanically weaker phases. EDS exposes the internal variation and this information can be used to define inclusion behaviour. The size of the inclusions is sub-micro which is difficult to be observed with light microscope.

The fast real time analysis makes it possible to be an efficient online quality control.

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The Analysis and Classification of non-metallic inclusions in Steels with AZtecSteel

Here we consider the use of SEM equipped with EDS and dedicated particle analysis software AZtecSteel for the complete characterisation of 5 steels. We demonstrate how inclusions across the population can be assessed and how they can be classified across the sample.


Steel Cleanliness Analysis to International Standards with AZtecSteel

This application note demonstrates how AZtecSteel, an industry-leading, dedicated particle analysis solution for the analysis of non-metallic inclusions can characterise inclusions in different types of steels to the requirements of multiple international standards.


This technical bulletin describes the application of AZtecSteel to the analysis and reporting of steel inclusions. (also known as non-metallic inclusions).

Quantifying Metal Cleanliness - boride and nitride non-metallic inclusions

In the past, characterising non-metallic inclusions and precipitates in steels and other alloys, especially for light elements such as boron, has presented a challenge. However, AZtecFeature, in combination with a high solid angle windowless EDS detector such as Ultim Extreme and a conventional large area detector provides exciting, novel capabilities.


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