Metallography, Microstructure, and Analysis

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 168–175 | Cite as

A Novel Method for Microstructural Characterization of Gray Cast Iron

  • J. P. Arul Mozhi Varman
Technical Article


The difficulty in the metallography of gray cast iron lies in the differentiation of ferrite and iron phosphide eutectic (steadite) microconstituents using normal etchants like nital and picral, and both phases appear bright (white color, unaffected) under normal light microscopy. Hence, it is difficult to find out the relative amounts of phases either photomicrographically or using sophisticated image analysis software. On the whole, the samples are etched with 2–3% nital for quantification of ferrite, steadite, pearlite, and carbides under optical (light) microscopy. This method of inspection requires high skill to differentiate the ferrite and steadite microconstituents, and also, sometimes it leads to misinterpretation which results in uncertainty in results. This led to the development of a novel etching method using “selenic reagent” which unveiled different microconstituents in the microstructure with higher confidence level.


Cast iron Microstructure Quantitative metallography 



The author would like to thank WABCO-TVS, Chennai, and Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras for their material and instrumental support, respectively.


  1. 1.
    RM Nunes: ASM handbook casting, 9th ed, Metals HandbookGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    J.P. Arul Mozhi Varman, Microstructural characterization of grey iron, in AIST Annual Meeting, p. 2183–2187 (2013)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J.P. Arul Mozhi Varman, A novel method for microstructural characterization of cast iron. Microsc. Microanal. 20(3), 872–873 (2014). Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    W.A. Blower, Pattern design for high pressure molding. Trans. AFS 78, 313–316 (1980)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J.R. Davis, Cast Irons, ASM Specialty Handbook (ASM International, Materials Park, 1996)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    K.L. Collini, K.L. Collini, K.L. Collini, Microstructure and mechanical properties of pearlitic gray cast iron. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 488, 529–539 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    J.P. Radzikowsk, ASM Handbook, Metallography and Microstructures (ASM International, Materials Park, 2004)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    P.C. Rosenthal, R.W. Heine, C.R. Loper, Principles of Metal Casting, 2nd edn. (McGraw-Hill, New York City, 1967)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    G.L. Rivera, R.E. Boeri, Solidification of gray cast iron. Scr. Mater. 50, 331–335 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    G. Petzow, Metallographic Etching: Metallographic and Ceramographic Methods for Revealing Microstructure, 1st edn. (American Society for Metals, 1978)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    H.I. Sanderow, T. Murphy, Quantitative image analysis technique for determining local density variation. Adv. Powder. Metall. Part. Mater. 4(10/13), 13–111 (2000)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    W. Conshohocken, Standard Practice for Determining the Inclusion or Second-Phase Constituent Content of Metals by Automatic Image Anlysis, E1245-03 (ASTM Standard, Philadelphia, 1995)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    W. Conshohocken, Standard Test Method for Determining Volume Fraction by Systematic Manual Point. E562-98, vol. 3 (ASTM Standard, Philadelphia, 2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Measurement of microstructure. Assessed 23 June 2017
  15. 15.
    H.R. Abbasi, M. Bazdar, A. Halvaee, Effect of phosphorus as an alloying element on microstructure and mechanical properties of pearlitic gray cast iron. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 444(1–2), 314–317 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    J.M. Radzikowska, Effect of specimen preparation on evaluation of cast iron microstructures. Mater. Charact. 54(4–5), 287–304 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and ASM International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology-MadrasChennaiIndia

Personalised recommendations