All materials are made up of atoms of various elements from periodic table. More often materials are made up of more than one type of atoms. Materials are generally classified into organic and inorganic materials. Some simple examples of organic materials are plastics, polymers, biopolymers, coal and crude oil. Common examples of inorganic materials are metals, alloys, ceramics, glass, and concrete. They are also classified as amorphous, crystalline materials based on the fundamental arrangement of atoms that comprise the materials.
Material characterization involves a broad group of analytical procedures used to evaluate chemical and physical make-up of any materials. It is different from material testing in that it focuses on fundamental characteristics rather than applied or utility properties. A simple example is chemical analysis of materials to identify the chemical elements or molecules involved in the constitution of a material. Physical characterization involves measuring physical properties, microstructure, etc.
Touchstone Testing Lab offers the following material characterization services.
Physical properties of materials encompass a wide range of properties that can be classified in to volumetric properties, thermal properties, electrical properties, etc. Major volumetric properties are specific gravity, density, viscosity, surface tension, etc. Included in the thermal properties are thermal conductivity, thermal expansion, phase change temperatures, etc., while electrical properties include mainly bulk and surface electrical conductivity. These properties along with mechanical and chemical properties are needed for selection, design and manufacturing of products and components.
Capability – At touchstone testing laboratory we have equipment and capability to measure the following physical properties
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Fundamental building blocks of materials are atoms. In solids and to some extant in liquids, atoms are generally arranged into crystals in a repetitive manner. A simple example is the common salt, sodium chloride, where sodium and chlorine atoms are arranged alternatively at the corners of a simple cube. The distance between the sodium and chlorine atoms is determined by the interatomic attractive and repulsive forces. Several different types of crystalline motifs are available for materials depending on the type of atoms involved. Basic crystal motifs are cubic, hexagonal, tetragonal, orthorhombic, monoclinic and triclinic forms. Further, materials will contain what are called grains with each grain containing repetitive patterns of atoms in one of the above crystalline motifs. Thus, materials are generally called polycrystalline materials. Most engineering materials will have additional matter, called second phase particles which essentially are impurities in the form of inclusions. Often these second phases may also contribute to the properties of the material. Thus, materials are in general polycrystalline and poly-phase. Microstructural characterization involves identifying and measuring the sizes and shapes of these grains and phases.
Capability – Touchstone Testing Lab routinely performs microstructural characterization of metallic, polymeric, ceramic materials and composites for aerospace, automotive and power generation OEMs as well as material and composite manufacturers. We have analyzed microstructures of variety of ferrous products including carbon steel, stainless steel, interstitial free steels, regular and alloy cast irons. We have extensive experience in analyzing nonferrous materials such as aluminum, aluminum alloys, copper, brass, bronze and exotic materials Ma. We can analyze fiber materials such as carbon, glass and ceramic as well as metal fibers and natural fibers. We have capability to analyze dust particles including soot, silica and powder metals. The following facilities are available for materials characterizations.
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Fundamental building blocks of observable materials are atoms and molecules. Properties of materials depend on how these atoms and molecules combine and interact with each other. Chemical analysis is a methodology to understand the constitution of materials in terms of atoms and combinations of them.
Many different techniques are available to analyze the chemistry of materials. These are generally classified into wet and dry chemical analysis. Wet method involves basically dissolving the materials in acids or alkali solutions and titrating the solutions against standards. An alternative is to use dry methods where the materials are irradiated using high energy radiations such as X-rays, g-rays and lasers as well as particle beams such as electrons and neutrons. The chemical response is analyzed through techniques like spectroscopy.
Capability – Touchstone Testing Lab has limited capability to analyze samples chemically. We use electron beams in an electron microscope to generate X-Rays which are then analyzed for the content semi-quantitatively. We also have a inductively coupled plasma unit to analyze chemistries of metallic samples.
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Touchstone is committed to providing its customers with quality, reliable test results. That is why we have undertaken the rigorous steps needed to meet and secure the most stringent of test lab accreditations including ISO/IEC 17025, NADCAP 7101 (Materials Test Lab) and NADCAP 7122-I (Non-Metallics Materials Testing).