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Study of the structure of metals and alloys, particularly using microscopic and X-ray diffraction techniques. Visual and optical microscopic observation of metal surfaces and fractures can reveal valuable information about the crystalline, chemical, and mechanical makeup of the material. In electron microscopes a beam of electrons instead of a beam of light is directed onto the specimen. The development of transmission electron microscopes has made it possible to examine internal details of very thin metal foils. X-ray diffraction techniques are used to study phenomena related to the grouping of the atoms themselves. See alsomaterials science, Henry C. Sorby.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on metallography, visit Britannica.com.