ON THE SAMPLING OF SERIAL SECTIONING TECHNIQUE FOR THREE DIMENSIONAL SPACE-FILLING GRAIN STRUCTURES

Guoquan Liu, Haibo Yu

Abstract

Serial sectioning technique provides plenty of quantitative geometric information of the microstructure analyzed, including those unavailable from stereology with one- and two-dimensional probes. This may be why it used to be and is being continuously served as one of the most common and invaluable methods to study the size and the size distribution, the topology and the distribution of topology parameters, and even the shape of three-dimensional space filling grains or cells. On the other hand, requiring tedious lab work, the method is also very time and energy consuming, most often only less than one hundred grains per sample were sampled and measured in almost all reported practice. Thus, a question is often asked: for typical microstructures in engineering materials, are so many grains or cells sampled adequate to obtain reliable results from this technique? To answer this question, experimental data of 1292 contiguous austenite grains in a low-carbon steel specimen obtained from the serial sectioning analysis are presented in this paper, which demonstrates the effect of sampling on the measurement of various parameters of grain size distribution and of the grain topology distribution. The result provides one of rules of thumb for grain stereology of similar microstructures.

Keywords
microstructure characterization; serial sectioning; 3D measurement; stereology; grain size; grain topology; steel; sampling strategy

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v19.p81-84

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)