What is Material Analysis?

Material Analysis

Material analysis involves the testing and evaluation of materials. It utilizes a variety of techniques and processes to get information about the structure and mechanical, physical and chemical properties of a material. It can be applied to anything from natural substances like hair, or man-made objects like machines and technology. There is a wide range of applications for material analysis, and companies in almost any industry can benefit from it. Read on to find out more about material analysis.

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Who does it?

Materials analysis will typically be performed by a material analysis lab offering this service, where the staff will have the necessary expertise and equipment for performing these analyses. A good lab will provide you with an accurate analysis of the materials so that you have access to this information and can assess it for yourself. 

What industries is it applicable to?

The short answer is that almost any manufacturing or engineering sector can benefit from materials testing. Whatever you’re manufacturing, material analysis might prove beneficial. This includes aerospace, automotive, medical devices and equipment, textiles, electronics, composites, chemicals, nuclear, building materials, oil and gas, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and many more. From toasters to airplanes, using the right materials is always of utmost importance. 

Why is it done?

There are many reasons why materials testing is so popular in many industries. In a lot of cases, it’s about quality control. Gaining vital information about the properties of the materials you’re using will enable you to assess their quality and improve on it as needed. This can be a legitimate safety concern, and making sure the material is adequate can save lives. This is true for example with aerospace, medical devices and the nuclear sector. In such industries, there are often regulations that manufacturers must comply with in terms of materials and their properties.Materials analysis is also a useful way of solving performance issues and investigating failure. If you’re experiencing issues with a product, material analysis might help you understand why, and also how you can address this. This service is called failure analysis and will give you more than just an analysis of the material, it will look specifically at what the issue is and try to find its root cause so you can fix it. Analysis can even be done before manufacturing has even begun, to assess different materials in order to choose the best one and assist with the product design. This prevents waste and saves time, as you won’t produce or manufacture anything you will be forced to throw away.

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How is it done?

A material analysis is performed using many different techniques to get as much information about the material as possible. Technology like x-ray powder diffraction, thermal analysis and high-resolution imaging can be utilized. Things that will be examined include particle size, the elemental constituents and composition, film thickness, melting point, glass transition temperature, crystal structure, and other structural properties. 

Now that you know what material analysis is, you can probably see how it could be applied to your sector. If you think your company would benefit, get in touch with a lab.