IMAK6003 - Light microscopy and the microstructure of metals


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Home examination
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Home examination 100/100 2 hours

Course content

Introduction to binary phase diagrams, with emphasis on the iron-carbon phase diagram and how it can be used to predict the microstructure in steel. Introduction to the differences between the different microstructures of steel (ferrite, pearlite, bainite, martensite and austenite), as well as to the effects of normalizing and hardening of steel.

Introduction to aluminium alloys: wrought alloys, cast alloys, heat treatable alloys, non-heat-treatable alloys. Introduction to casting, homogenization, extrusion, forging and rolling and how they affect the microstructure. Changes in microstructure caused by heat treatment.

Fundamental theory of light microscopy, including the construction of the microscope, the lighting system, resolution magnification, depth of field, bright field, dark field, polarized light and the use of interference contrast. In addition, background for selection of etchants and electrolytes in the sample preparation for light microscopy.

Laboratory part: Light microscopy with different samples of aluminium and steel.

Learning outcome

The candidate

  • Has fundamental knowledge of the most common manufacturing and processing methods and how particularly heat treatment and deformation influence the microstructures of aluminium and steel.
  • Can interpret phase diagrams and use the lever rule on a simple binary phase diagram, as well as plan a procedure to achieve the desired microstructure.
  • Has a basic understanding of the theory of how light microscopes are constructed and how they are used.
  • Should at a basic level be able to explain the theories of imaging, contrast, resolution, and polarized light, and know different methods for measuring grainsize and particle size.

Learning methods and activities

There will be lectures and laboratory work in the physical seminar as well as individual preparations and work ahead of the seminar (65 hours total work including self-study). Teaching in the seminar can include lectures, group work, discussions, work in the materials laboratory and theoretical exercises. The self-study preparations ahead of the seminar will be based on interactive resources and digital meetings. The whole course may be held digitally if required for infection control.

Compulsory activities:

  • Compulsory participation in the physical seminar. Minimum 50% participation in the digital seminars.
  • Compulsory exercises in connection with the interactive learning resources
  • Compulsory reports from the laboratory work

Compulsory assignments

  • Oblig
  • Oblig 2
  • Oblig 3

Further on evaluation

One evaluation, written home exam. All compulsory activities must be approved to get a grade. Compulsory activities are written exercises, lab reports and 100% participation in the physical seminar. The number of compulsory exercises will be given at the start of the course.

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  2.5 SP
Study level: Further education, lower degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  SPRING 2025

Language of instruction: Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Physical Metallurgy
  • Process Metallurgy
  • Technological subjects
Contact information
Course coordinator: Lecturer(s):

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Department with administrative responsibility
Section for quality in education and learning environment


Examination arrangement: Home examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Spring ORD Home examination 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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