Part of the Oxford Instruments Group
Metals, Alloys, Composites & Ceramics

Materials manufacturing and processing are focused on producing materials with very specific properties. Typically these materials are stronger, lighter and more efficient to manufacture. To facilitate these requirements detailed analysis of the material is required, and this can be either as part of a materials development or as part of quality control. This analysis includes understanding the chemical and phase composition, grain structure and strain within the material. 

Oxford Instruments provides tools which are designed to deliver the required results in these challenging markets. For example, there is often a requirement to investigate large sample areas to deliver adequate sampling statistics, on samples being produced in bulk. This is made possible through the AZtec large area mapping solution, where many hundreds of fields are analysed automatically through unattended data collection and then montaged together to provide a real overview of the sample. 

Similarly, automated analysis and classification of inclusions or secondary phases have now become routine, for example, the analysis of steel inclusions to recognised standards.

Similarly, as materials are processed, characterisation on the nanoscale is needed as grain and particle sizes are decreasing in engineered materials.  This is aided by detector technology developments:

Application Notes

View all of our Metals, Alloys, Composites & Ceramics application notes

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.


Fast Characterisation of Minerals with Similar Crystal Structures

Combining electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) techniques for geological sample characterisation, helps to unlock even more information on the likely formation and history of 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.




Applying nanomanipulation to the EBSD analysis of a gold wire

This application note describes a method of combining Oxford Instrument’s OmniProbe tools and AZtec EBSD system for the manipulation and analysis of a 5μm diameter gold microelectronic wire sample.

Phase characterisation of an Aluminium Alloy using EDS

The AutoPhaseMap module in the Oxford Instruments’ EDS software, AZtecEnergy, automatically finds areas of different characteristic composition from X-ray map data, and determines the distribution, area, constituent elements and composition of each of these areas or phases. This application note examines how this can be used to characterise an aluminium alloy and its inter-metallic phases.

AZtec Grain Analysis

The grain size is an important parameter of a material, it will strongly affect mechanical and physical properties. Understanding how grain size is influenced through the processing of materials, can assist in engineering materials with optimised properties.

Phase characterisation of nanoscale intermetallic phases in a Ni-based alloy

This application note examines how AutoPhaseMapcan be used to investigate the chemistry and distribution of nanoscale intermetallic phases in a Ni-based alloy which are on the scale of 150-1000 nm.


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