Preparation of TEM Foils from Nb-10 a/o Si

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Ductile phase toughened composites contain phases with significantly different physical properties. Consequently, these phases thin at different rates depending on the sample preparation procedure. A new TEM foil preparation method for the ductile phase toughened Nb-10 a/o Si material has been developed. The method involves chemical thinning in a 70% nitric acid/ 30% hydrofluoric acid solution followed by electropolishing in a 12.5% sulfuric acid/87.5% methanol electrolyte at −40°C. This procedure for making TEM foils results in large thin areas with the minimum of artifacts. Mechanical grinding of a sample followed by either ion milling, dimpling, or electropolishing produced foils with large electron transparent areas, but with uncharacteristic features of the original Nb-10 a/o Si alloy microstructure. These artifacts were identified as dislocations, surface mottling, and antiphase domains. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.



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