Metallography User Lab

The Empa metallography UserLab provides know-how and facilities for sample preparation using conventional metallographic methods (e.g. cutting, grinding and polishing). Access to the user lab is granted to all registered Empa employees, which have completed a general safety course and also received a personal instruction to the rules and safety aspects of the UserLab (see below). Please note that the UserLab Metallography is not a service center, i.e. we do not offer (routine) sample preparation tasks.

We provide the following facilities for metallographic sample preparation:

  • Precision cutting machine (Buhler IsoMet4000)
  • Low-speed saw (Buhler IsoMet)
  • 40mm diameter hot mounting press (Buhler SimpliMet 1000)
  • Various cold-mounting resins
  • Grinding Machine (Buhler MetaServ 250)
  • 3 semi-automatic polishing machines (Buhler PHOENIX 4000)
  • Vibration polishing (Buhler Vibromet 2)
  • Optical microscope with Camera (Zeiss Axiovert 100A / Canon DSLR)

The following consumables for sample preparation are provided by the UserLab in reasonable quantities:

  • Standard cut-off wheels (note: diamond cut-off wheels are not provided by the UserLab)
  • Hot- and cold-mounting resins (incl. clamps and other tools)
  • Grinding Paper (FEPA 240-4000)
  • A common stack of polishing cloths (note: individual sets are not financed by the UserLab)
  • Commonly applied polishing suspensions and lubricants
  • Raw-chemicals and equipment to prepare standard etching solutions

Off course, we can also support you with guidance and assistance regarding sample preparation and interpretation.


  • The Lab is only for authorized (registered) personnel
  • The Metallography Lab is accessible for registered users on Monday to Thursday from 7:30h - 16:30h and on Fridays from 7:30h - 12:00h. The lab is closed during the weekend (access prohibited)! Any work within the UserLab outside the official opening hours needs special permission by the Userlab Responsible
  • Your activities in the UserLab have to be logged in the lab journal
  • Equipment and facilities have to be cleaned after use
  • Use the provided consumables in an economical way
  • Leave a note if consumables are running low on stock or if the equipment is damaged or broken
  • Working with fluoric acid or chemicals, which contain fluoric acid, is only allowed if a special chemical safety course by Renato Figi was attended (please contact Renato Figi, Lab 502)


  • Please fill in the registration form and let it sign by the indicated responsible persons. Return the filled-out and signed form to the Userlab Responsible.
  • Every 2nd Wednesday of the month (from 10:30h-11:30h am), we organize a short introduction course for newly registered users. Please contact the Userlab Responsible in advance, if you wish to participate in the next introduction course.

The Metallography Lab is accessible for registered users during the following times only:

Monday-Thursday: 7:30h - 16:30h

Friday: 7:30h - 12:00h

The lab is closed during the weekend!

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