2016 International Metallographic Contest

The International Metallographic Contest and Exhibit is being held in conjunction with the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2016 meeting and the 49th Annual IMS Meeting in Columbus, OH, July 24-28, 2016. The contest features the best work of metallographers and microstructural analysts from around the world. Entrants need not be members of the International Metallographic Society or ASM International.

This page details the rules and regulations.
Want some tips for creating a winning entry? Read the excellent article by Jim Nelson.
Good luck.

Deadline for entries is July 9, 2016

(Check out the 2015 winners) or (Learn more about the I.M.S.)


The primary goal of the contest is to advance the science of microstructural analysis by providing an opportunity for those interested in material properties and characterization to display their work and communicate significant scientific information. There are five different classes of competition covering all fields of optical and electron microscopy. In Classes 1 through 3, multiple images and captions are expected to be used to describe how metallography was used to help solve a problem or to describe a unique or unusual technique. Classes 4 and 5 are for artistic pictures. The contest is open to all, including non-members.

Officers of IMS or ASM, class award sponsors and commercial exhibitors may enter in any class to compete for cash awards including best in show. If an entry submitted by officers of IMS or ASM, class award sponsors or commercial exhibitors receives a first place award in any class, the author is prohibited from entering the same class the following year.


AWARDS All monetary awards will be issued in U.S. dollars.

Best in Show, This award is endowed by Buehler and is open to Classes 1 and 2 only. The winner will receive the Jacquet-Lucas Award consisting of a plaque, the Jacquet-Lucas Medal in Shadow Box, a hand lettered Calligraphy Certificate and $3000.00.

First Place winners will receive $500 or the Jacquet-Lucas Award, but not both. Entries for these two classes are expected to be submitted by experienced metallographers and metallurgists, although a group submitting an entry may include student or novice technician participation.

The DuBose-Crouse Award, based on unique, unusual, and new techniques in microscopy, is open to Classes 1, 2, and 3. The winner receives prize money associated with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place and the DuBose-Crouse plaque.

The George L. Kehl Award is a prestigious award, recognizing outstanding achievement by a student. The First Place student winners in Class 3 will receive $1,000 (shared if two or more contributors on the winning entry) and the George L. Kehl Plaque. The Second Place winners will receive $200. Third Place winners will receive $100. A certificate of appreciation will be awarded for Honorable Mention. Undergraduate or graduate students may submit entries. The poster should exhibit skill and knowledge of metallographic techniques and application of microscopy. The work need not be complete but should define ultimate goals and demonstrate progress towards these goals. It is expected that entries submitted for Class 3 will be guided by a department professor or advisor. Graduate and undergraduate students should acquire a letter of confirmation from their advisors, stating that the entry was completed by the student(s) themselves with minimal assistance after the entry outline was established.

Prize money, plaques and certificates will be sent to the primary investigator (first author listed), except in the case of the Jacquet-Lucas Award, which will be divided equally among the authors.

A FIRST PRIZE will be awarded in each Class, unless minimum standards are not met. If a first Prize is awarded; second and third prizes may be awarded, depending on judges' discretion. If a first Prize is NOT awarded, Honorable Mention certificates may be awarded. Honorable Mention certificate(s) may be awarded in lieu of, or in addition to second and third place entries.

Entries are prominently displayed at the annual M&M Conference following judging and again in the fall at the annual ASM Event. Winning entries will also be displayed at ASM headquarters.



1. Light Microscopy - All Materials.

2. Electron Microscopy - All Materials.

3. Student Entries - All Materials. (Undergrad or Graduate Students Only)

4. Artistic Microscopy (Color) - This class is based on the use of color microscopy.

5. Artistic Microscopy (Black & White) - This class is based on the use of B&W microscopy.

Digitally captured images are permitted in all categories but the images must depict true structures, which have not been significantly altered from their original appearance.



CLASSES 4 and 5 - Images of artistic or aesthetic value. Only one image per entry is permitted. These classes are not eligible for Best in Show.

In all categories except 4 and 5, multiple images and captions are expected to be used to tell a story of how metallography and/or electron microscopy helped solve a problem.

Judges reserve the right to exclude entries from the IMC competition, if considered to be of poor quality or unsuitable subject matter.



All entries must meet these requirements:

1. No more than four entries per individual (or team) will be accepted.

2. No more than two entries are allowed in classes 1-3.

3. Images used in entries for classes 1-3 may not be resubmitted in classes 4-5.

4. Posters in classes 1-3 shall include a description of what metallographic techniques were used.

5. Posters shall be either laminated or mounted on a sturdy lightweight backing.

6. In classes 1-3, the maximum acceptable dimensions are 36" x 24" or 90cm x 60cm (±10%). The minimum acceptable dimensions are 10" x 8" or 25cm x 20cm (±10%). There must be a blank space on the front, lower left corner of the poster, 2" x 4" in size to accommodate the address label that is affixed to the front of the poster after judging is completed.

7. In classes 4-5 the maximum acceptable dimensions are 18" x 18". The minimum acceptable dimensions are 8.5" x 11".

8. More than one pertinent photomicrograph may be presented on a single poster as one entry (except in classes 4 and 5). Multiple posters for one entry are not acceptable. Each poster must be a single entry.

9. Each entry can be entered in only one class.

10. Entries must carry on the face of the poster: (a) classification of entry (Class 1-5); (b) material(s) or alloy; (c) etchant (if any); (d) magnification; and (e) explanation and any unusual technical or structural features. The above caption information may be submitted in any language; however, an English translation must be submitted.

11. The name, company/university affiliation, postal address, phone number, and email of the exhibitor must be typewritten and placed on the back of the mount. Do not place name or affiliation on front of the poster. The exhibit committee will affix a name and address label on the face of the entry after judging.

12. All entries become the joint property of the IMS and ASM and cannot be returned.

13. Do not frame entries.

14. All entries which contain digitally captured images must have a signed copy of the following statement affixed to the back of the entry:

These images have not been previously published or significantly altered from their original appearance by application of image-enhancement algorithms and convolution kernels, unless the purpose of the entry is to show how those are used to illustrate specific effects.



15. A student is defined as anyone who is still working toward their first degree, i.e. Associates Degree, Bachelors Degree, etc., or equivalent in another country. All undergraduate students entering by themselves, whether as individuals or as a team, must enter into Class 3. An undergraduate student may be part of a team with an entry in Classes 1 or 2 provided the team lead is a graduate student, professor, or other professional.


Judging will be on a point system using the following criteria:

1. Technical content - originality of the project in relation to solving a problem - 45 points max.

2. Quality and uniqueness of specimen preparation - 25 points max.

3. Photographic quality - 20 points max.

4. Uniqueness of the presentation in an aesthetic and technical sense, manner of titles, and other printed descriptions - 10 points max.

5. Classes 4 and 5 only - Judging of these classes is based on the artistic value of the micrographs only. (Only one photo per entry).

The panel of judges shall consist of:

1. An even number of judges, with the Chair casting the deciding vote if necessary.

2. At least one judge holds an advanced degree and experience in physical metallurgy.

3. At least two practicing metallographers.

4. At least one representative from the commercial "metallography" trade.

5. Judges shall serve for no more than two (2) consecutive years.

6. At least two (2) new judges shall be appointed each year.

These criteria can be met with one judge satisfying more than one requirement. A group of six or eight judges is considered ideal.



All entries must be received by July 9, 2016 and should be sent to:

Dr. Elvin Beach
Senior Scientist
Worthington Industries, Inc.
Corporate Materials Laboratory
7400 Worthington Galena Road - Door 280
Columbus. OH 43085


If you would like to Email entries for Classes 4 and 5 only:

Maximum file size is 10MB. Please use the highest quality images regarding bit depth, file size, and resolution. Images must be in one of the following formats: jpg (jpeg), gif, tiff (tiff), bmp.

Please be sure to also upload, or include with your email, a txt file with your name, address, email address, company affiliation, phone number, AND the file name of the images you are submitting.

Please Note: special printing requirements cannot be accommodated for electronic entries. All entries submitted electronically will be printed on 8.5" x 11" glossy paper.

To email entries for Classes 4 and 5, please submit to:



For further information, Email: Steven Gentz (contest Chair) at: steven.j.gentz@nasa.gov