Within the framework of cases of damage, the scanning electron microscope (SEM) is used in order to conduct fractographic investigations on fractures or on crack faces opened in the laboratory. These investigations are indispensable for clarifying the cases of damage. Due to the high depth of field of the scanning electron microscope, it is possible to represent not only different fracture structures, fracture starting points and fracture and crack propagation directions but also any foreign phases formed in the material as well as any precipitations or corrosion coats on the fracture faces.
The chemical compositions of these phases, precipitations and coats on the fracture faces as well as thin film applications can be determined, qualitatively and quantitatively, by means of energy-dispersive X‑ray (EDX) analysis integrated into the scanning electron microscope. Depending on the set questions, surface and/or point and line analyses (so-called line scans) can be carried out for this purpose. Representation is also possible in the form of element distribution patterns - so-called mappings.