Researchers have visualized on a microscopic level how certain steels fracture when extreme loads are applied to them. Scientists used a scanning electron microscope to obtain high-resolution images (around 10 nanometers).

The application of new techniques to characterize materials has made it possible to better understand the behavior of sintered steels (those produced from powders) on fracturing. In this way, they have been able to discover how the first cracks nucleate and extend.

This study makes changes in the microstructure of the material visible while it is being tested. Moreover, the methodology used is applicable to any type of alloy, not only to test its behavior under pressure, but also its behavior at high temperatures.