ASTM-E2142 Standard Test Methods for Rating and Classifying Inclusions in Steel Using the Scanning Electron Microscope

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Standard Test Methods for Rating and Classifying Inclusions in Steel Using the Scanning Electron Microscope



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1.1 This test method covers procedures to obtain particle size distribution, chemical classification, and Test Methods E45 ratings of inclusions in steels using an automated scanning electron microscope (SEM) with X-ray analysis and automatic image analysis capabilities.

1.2 There are three discrete methods described. Method 1 is the SEM analog of Test Method E45, which uses image analysis and light microscopy to produce automated Test Methods E45 ratings. Method 2 produces similar ratings based predominantly on sorting inclusions by chemistry into the traditional classes defined in Test Methods E45. Method 3 is recommended when explicit detail is needed on particular inclusion types, not necessarily defined in Test Methods E45, such as to verify the composition of inclusions in inclusion-engineered steel. Method 3 reports stereological parameters such as volume or number fraction, rather than Test Methods E45 type ratings.

1.3 This test method deals only with the recommended test methods and nothing in it should be construed as defining or establishing limits of acceptability for any grade of steel or other alloy where the method is appropriate.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

Significance and Use

5.1 This test method is established to cover automated SEM/EDX-based procedures for:

5.1.1 Rating the inclusion content of steels based on procedures listed in Standards E45 and E1245, with the significant difference that the composition of the individual inclusions, as determined by X-ray analysis, is utilized to sort them into chemical classes.

5.1.2 Determining the number, size and morphological distribution of inclusions in steels sorted by chemical class.

5.2 Methods 1 and 2 of this test method are primarily intended for rating the inclusion content of steels deoxidized with silicon or aluminum, both silicon and aluminum, or vacuum-treated steels without either silicon or aluminum additions. Guidelines are provided to rate inclusions in steel treated with rare earth additions or calcium-bearing compounds (13.4). When such steels are evaluated, the test report should describe the nature of the inclusions rated according to each inclusion category (A, B, C, D).

5.3 Methods 1 and 2 will provide a quantitative rating of the inclusion content in half-severity number increments from 0 to 5 for each inclusion type and thickness (Method D of Test Method E45), and in tabulated in Table 2. Test Method E45 ratings by SEM may differ from those determined following E45 because of the use of chemistry in the classifications. In order to differentiate E45 ratings obtained using the SEM from traditional ratings using light microscopy, the ratings obtained using Method 1 or 2 of this Test Method shall be identified as E45-SEM1 and E45-SEM2, respectively.

5.4 Method 3 defines procedures to analyze and report inclusions by arbitrary size distribution and chemical classifications. It may be made applicable to any material by appropriate choice of these classifications.

5.4.1 Method 3 determines and reports basic (as used in Test Method E1245) stereological measurements (for example, volume fraction of sulfides and oxides, the number of sulfides or oxides per square millimeter, and so forth). This test method, however, does not address the measurement of such parameters. E45 ratings are not produced in Method 3 because the inclusion classifications do not follow those defined in Test Method E45.

5.5 The quantitative results are intended to provide a description of the types and amounts of inclusions in a heat of steel. This test method contains no guidelines for such use.


automatic image analysis; complex inclusions; EDX; globular inclusions; inclusions; inclusion ratings; inclusion stringers; oxides; second-phase particles; SEM; steel; stereology; sulfides; X-Ray microanalysis;; ICS Number Code 77.140.01 (Iron and steel products in general)

To find similar documents by ASTM Volume:

03.01 (Metals -- Mechanical Testing; Elevated and Low-Temperature Tests; Metallography)

To find similar documents by classification:

77.140.01 (Iron and steel products in general)

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Document Number


Revision Level

2008 R15 EDITION



Modification Type


Publication Date

Nov. 1, 2015

Document Type

Test Method

Page Count

14 pages

Committee Number