After cutting the specimen, the next step is mounting. The purpose of mounting is to handle small or oddly shaped specimens and to protect fragile materials, thin layers or coatings during preparation as well as to provide good edge retention. Mounting produces specimens with uniform size so they are easier to handle in automatic holders for further preparation steps. Two methods are available: hot mounting and cold mounting.
• Hot mounting, the specimen and mounting powders are placed under heat and pressure with a hot mounting press.
• Cold mounting is preferred for samples which are sensitive to damage from heat and pressure (like coatings, PCB, etc.). Cold mounting resins are easy to use and require mixing with a hardener which is then poured into a mold and allowed to set. Slower curing cold mounting material can be used in the VACUMET system to eliminate bubbles in the final mount.