Non-destructive microstructural analysis by electrical conductivity: Comparison with hardness measurements in different materials

Gonçalo L. Sorger, J. P. Oliveira*, Patrick L. Inácio, Norbert Enzinger, Pedro Vilaça, R. M. Miranda, Telmo G. Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of non-destructive evaluation (NDE) techniques for assessing microstructural changes in processed materials is of particular importance as it can be used to assess, qualitatively, the integrity of any material/structure. Among the several NDE techniques available, electrical conductivity measurements using eddy currents attract great attention owing to its simplicity and reliability. In this work, the electrical conductivity profiles of friction stir processed Ti6Al4V, Cu, Pb, S355 steel and gas tungsten arc welded AISI 304 stainless steel were determined through eddy currents and four-point probe. In parallel, hardness measurements were also performed. The profiles matched well with the optical macrographs of the materials: while entering in the processed region a variation in both profiles was always observed. One particular advantage of electrical conductivity profiles over hardness was evident: it provides a better resolution of the microstructural alterations in the processed materials. Moreover, when thermomechanical processing induces microstructural changes that modify the magnetic properties of a material, eddy currents testing can be used to qualitatively determine the phase fraction in a given region of the material. A qualitative relation between electrical conductivity measurements and hardness is observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Materials Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Electrical conductivity
  • Friction stir processing
  • Gas tungsten arc welding
  • Hardness
  • Non-destructive evaluation techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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