Microstructure Assessment

© Photo Fraunhofer IWM

Microstructures are responsible for the properties of raw materials and therefore for the properties of the resulting components which are produced. Microstructures are adjusted using different manufacturing steps. In use, they can change both positively and negatively. We uncover the relationships between the microstructure and the raw materials’ properties and use this information to gain optimized material properties - for example with regard to mechanical properties, long-term behavior, life expectancy, abrasive properties, corrosion properties, etc.). By using computer simulations, we can predict microstructures and assess them with regard to the reliability, safety and lifetime of components. Building on this, we develop concepts to design components and optimize manufacturing processes.


We measure and analyze the material's microstructures and determine the structural properties. To do so, we use:

Microscopy (optical, scanning electron microscope)

Hardness measurement (core hardness, hardness profiles, hardness mapping)

Measuring of the local crystallographic texture (e.g. locally by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), macroscopically  by or X-ray diffraction (XRD))

Quantitative structure determination (optical, ESBD, XRD)

Glow Discharge Optical Emission Spectroscopy (GDOES) to measure the chemical composition

X-ray and partly destructive residual stress analyses

We model and prepare predictions on the raw material’s microstructure

Thermodynamic and thermodynamic-kinetic calculations (implemented in software such as Thermocalc and Matcalc) to simulate microstructures and derive predictions on the long-term evaluation of the material’s microstructure

We assess the raw material’s microstructure with regard to


Stress corrosion cracking

Strength properties


Functionality of abrasion and corrosion protective coatings

Heat treatment

Process-caused strain hardening

Security of weld joins

Surface quality after component processing or coating

Failure mechanisms and interaction between crack growth and microstructure

Hydrogen influences (diffusion behavior, fatigue, brittleness)

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Reasons to work with us

“Anomalies” in product, test operations or in use (e.g. reductions in strength, crack formation, corrosion, surface defects)

Cases of damage

Ensuring standards compliance or specifications for raw materials and components

The clarification of property changes in operations due to external influences (thermal, mechanical, chemical or coupled)

Questions of quality assurance when converting production processes

Assessing new raw materials regarding manufacturability, corrosion, long-term stability, strength and size accuracy

Targeted generation of favorable properties in manufacturing

Need for input data for raw material simulations

Need for quantitative evaluations of raw materials (e.g. pore proportion, phase proportion, structure morphology, texture and compositional gradients)

Information on quantitative microstructure property relationships

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Basis for decisions regarding the use (replacement) of raw materials

Optimization approaches to increase the performance of the raw materials used (e.g. by pre-treatment, heat treatment, coating, etc.)

Procedure to improve manufacturing steps (welding, surface treatment, heat treatment)

Suggestions for component optimization

Causes for damage and damage appraisals

We complete our projects as needed in the form of studies, appraisals, reports or workshops.

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Why it’s worth getting in touch with us

The wealth of experience possessed by our employees allows them to efficiently and effectively work out analysis and research results, which provides our clients a reliable basis to make well-informed decisions

Our competence with raw material microstructures, damage mechanisms in raw materials and components and residual stress allows us to holistically consider problems and leads to sustainable solutions

Our instrumentation allows for investigations in a wide variety of raw materials (ceramics, metals, layers, composites)

At the institute, we have a large pool of experts in a wide variety of specialist areas of raw material science. This leads to quick and efficient solutions for our clients

Our range of equipment and facilities allows us to carry out an efficient, customer needs-based combination of measurement and analysis procedures

We have our own sample production and can handle large components

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