Scanning Electron Microscopy, or SEM analysis, provides high-resolution imaging useful for evaluating various materials for surface fractures, flaws, contaminants or corrosion. Through SEM and EDX analysis, our metallurgical experts provide a thorough examination of material properties and give valuable insights to manufacturers. 

SEM analysis is a powerful investigative tool which uses a focused beam of electrons to produce complex, high magnification images of a sample’s surface topography. Once an area of interest has been identified on the sample and evaluated using SEM, our experts can dive deeper into the detail of the material using energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, or EDX analysis. 

Why SEM analysis?

Performing a visual analysis of a surface using scanning electron microscopy contributes to the identification of contaminates or unknown particles, the cause of failure and interactions between materials. 

In addition to surface evaluation, SEM analysis is utilized for particle characterization, such as wear debris generated during mechanical wear testing. The high magnification, high-resolution imaging of our SEM analysis supports the determination of the number, size, and morphology of small particles, allowing clients to understand the wear properties of their material.


Combining SEM & EDX Analysis 

Energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, also referred to as EDX, EDS or EDAX, provides additional understanding of the surface material during the SEM analysis process. EDX analysis is used to acquire the elemental composition of a sample and allows for a more quantitative result than that provided by only SEM analysis. The combination of SEM and EDX analysis offers chemical composition and elemental investigation – providing a comprehensive metallurgical evaluation.

Adhesion & Bonding Investigations

Failure Analysis 

Product Deformulation  

Surface Flaw/Defect Analysis

Contamination Detection 

Particle Analysis (in support of wear testing)

Expert Witness Services

EDX RF analysis

Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDX RF) analysis techniques provide major, minor and trace element quantification across the broadest range of samples, including bulk solids, granules, powders, thin films and all manner of liquids with extreme ease of sample preparation. It can be used for a wide range of elements, from carbon (9) to uranium (92) and wide variety of industries and applications, including:  

  • cement production
  • mining
  • mineral beneficiation
  • iron
  • steel and non-ferrous metals
  • RoHS screening and quantification
  • petroleum and petrochemicals
  • polymers and related industries
  • glass production
  • pharmaceuticals
  • healthcare products
  • environmental
  • food and cosmetics


The Element advantage

Element’s knowledgeable metallurgists have critical expertise across a wide range of industries, including Aerospace, Transportation, Oil & Gas, Infrastructure and metal manufacturing. This expertise allows our engaged experts to provide you with the necessary insights to implement process or procedure improvements.

For more information about our SEM analysis capabilities or to request a quote, contact us today.

American Society for Metals

ASM Handbook Volume II

American Society for Testing & Materials

ASTM E1508, ASTM F1798, ASTM F1820, ASTM F2009

Various Internal Standards

Our team of over 9,000 Engaged Experts in North America, Europe, The Middle East, Australia, Asia and Africa are ready to help you.