The following information appeared as an insert in the June '97 issue of SlipLines, the newsletter of the IMS. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of William W. Scott, Associate Managing Director, Technical and Publishing Director for ASM International.
The Logo of the International Metallographic Society represents an ideal structure for a polycrystalline material. Each crystal or grain is formed by the combination of cubic and octahedral habits. The octahedral faces truncate the corners of a cube, producing new edges on the cube face and three additional edges on each octahedral face. Truncation is such that the length of the edge common to cubic and octahedral faces is equal to the edge common only to octahedral faces. This structure, known as a tetrakaidecahedron (14 sided), may be stacked so that it completely and uniformly fills three-dimensional space.
by Robert Gray
In the early days of the Manhattan Project, metallographers who were employed by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and its contractors were faced with materials that were textbook curiosities. Some nuclear engineers expected the metallographers to know as much about uranium, plutonium, and other materials related to AEC programs as they knew about iron and copper, but of course there was a great difference. Information on iron and copper and their alloys had been researched and published for many years, whereas metallographic studies of nuclear materials were being carried out with little or no collaboration. Each AEC laboratory developed its own techniques for safety control, specimen preparation, and microstructural interpretation, and each laboratory drew its own conclusions based on individual interpretations of what was obtained. The need for close coordination became apparent at an AEC Metallurgical Conference in January, 1949, when some of the metallographers and metallurgists in attendance decided they wanted to compare techniques for preparing and examining uranium. They asked G.L. Kehl of Columbia University, A.U. Seybolt of Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, and H.A. Saller of Battelle Memorial Institute-Columbus to arrange an ad-hoc meeting. Battelle agreed to fabricate and heat treat identical sets of natural uranium, and the specimens were distributed to other AEC sponsored laboratories. On July 10, 1949, sixteen representatives of eight laboratories met at Battelle. The success of the uranium studies opened the door for further cooperation. Twenty-two AEC Metallography Group meetings were held between 1950 and 1969, with up to 60 attendees in later years. Most of the early meetings had a theme; for example, samples of crystal bar zirconium and zirconium-clad 6 wt.% uranium alloy were distributed in advance of the June 1950 meeting. Beginning with the sixth meeting, in September, 1952, attendees presented papers that reflected the recent work of their laboratories. In 1952 the first steering committee was elected, and in 1953 Harriet Roman of MIT was elected permanent secretary and agreed to distribute proceedings of each meeting to the participants. The AEC Metallography Group was never formally recognized or financially supported by the AEC, although the AEC sent a representative to most meetings. The Commission's attitude was that the meetings were an essential part of materials development and that the informal technical exchange was best left as it was. These meetings were not open to the general public, and the material covered was rather narrow in scope. The idea to form a society for all metallographers, covering all types of techniques and materials, came from discussions among John Bender, Fred Cochran, and Kaye Johnson at the May, 1967 meeting of the AEC Metallography group. Upon returning home they formulated a charter for an "International Metallographic Society," and the Society was incorporated in New Mexico in September. In 1969 the AEC Metallography Group voted to become part of the IMS as the AEC Nuclear Materials Session. The need for continued separate recognition of the AEC group soon phased out as declassification allowed many papers and discussions to be presented openly. However, the ideas and techniques developed by group members remain in wide use. Many research methods developed for nuclear materials have been extended to the study of nearly all materials. One small group of metallographers and materials scientists clearly had a valuable impact on our progress.