Application Notes
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Welding a Radiator Fin

Versatile digital microscopes facilitate multiple microscopy techniques in a single system

Radiator fin
Radiator fin

1. Application

There are three methods commonly used to join components made out of an aluminum alloy: welding, mechanical joining, and adhesive bonding. Within the welding method, there are three types: fusion, pressure, and brazing. To join aluminum components that have complicated structures, brazing is an effective method. For example, brazing is used when joining the parts that make up automotive heat exchangers.

A radiator has a structure that radiates heat from engine coolant; the coolant is heated by the engine and flows through a pipe to the heat exchanger where air passing over the radiator fins cools it. Having a large surface area is essential for efficient heat transfer. To maximize the surface area, each component used to construct the heat exchanger is designed to be as thin as possible. In this instance, using a welding method like fusion can damage the thin components. To help avoid this damage, a brazing welder is used to join aluminum materials. The filler material used in the weld is thinly rolled on the part’s surface and then melted to join the components together.

2. The Olympus solution

Olympus' DSX510 digital microscope has 13X optical zoom and added digital zoom, so users can obtain up to 30X magnification, covering the magnification range of a conventional metallurgical microscope using only one objective lens. The intuitive UI enables users to make fine adjustments to magnification quickly and easily. Seamlessly zoom in and out to visualize a large section down to a detailed image of a small part of the welded area. Even when changing magnification, the field of view remains the same and you will not lose track of the observed location. When required, higher magnification can be achieved since up to two lenses can be mounted to the microscope.

With the DSX510 digital microscope, you can easily change observation methods with just a click. This enables you to clearly observe the material’s structure, voids, or cracks in the welded part. Using the multi-preview function, you can also view a list of additional observation methods. Adjustments, including diaphragm and illumination, are automatically optimized by the microscope, enabling users to make repeatable observations under the same conditions. With the DSX510 digital microscope, high-resolution observation and image acquisition can be achieved in a short time, making your work more efficient.


(1) Wide magnification range

Weld metal_ob5×z2_BF16000×8980um
Macro imaging with stitching

Weld metal_ob10×z1_BF contrast 139×-2028um
Zoom 1x; Field 2000 × 2000 mm
Weld metal_ob10×z2_BF contrast 277×-1014um
Zoom 2x; Field 1000 × 1000 mm
Weld metal_ob10×z5_BF contrast 693×-406um
Zoom 5x; 400 × 400 mm

(2) Various microscopy techniques

Weld metal_ob10×z2_DF contrast 277×-1014um
Weld metal_ob10×z2_MIX contrast 277×-1014um
MIX (Brightfield and Darkfield)
Weld metal_ob10×z2_PO contrast 277×-1014um
Olympus IMS

Designed with modularity in mind, the BX3M series provide versatility for a wide variety of materials science and industrial applications.
OLYMPUS Stream image analysis software offers fast, efficient inspection workflows for all process steps for image acquisition, quantitative measurements and image analysis, reporting, and advanced materials science inspections tasks.
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