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Materials Science Experiments to find unknown material

  1. Sep 14, 2013 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I have a project for my Materials Science and Engineering class and we have were given 4 unknown materials and we have to determine which kind of materials they are. We have to come up with our own experiments. As of now, I've done the Rockwell hardness test, electrical conductivity tests and have determined the density of each material. I've ran out of ideas for tests to conduct so if anyone has some suggestions that would be greatly appreciated thanks.

    Two of the materials are some sort of metal discs, one material looks to be a ceramic tile and the other is a foam.
     
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  3. Sep 14, 2013 #2

    SteamKing

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    Have you checked the metallic disks to see if they are magnetic?

    BTW, what sort of different tests do you have available. Are you limited to just non-destructive testing?
     
  4. Sep 14, 2013 #3

    UltrafastPED

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    And don't forget x-ray powder diffraction!
     
  5. Sep 14, 2013 #4
    Hey thanks for your replies. Yes I am only limited to non-destructive tests. So I can't do any tensile or compression tests. A magnetic test is a great idea, I just don't know of any other tests that will tell me exactly what material I'm dealing with. Like I said, I've tested for conductivity and I've done a hardness test. I've also determined the density of both metallic disks. I couldn't determine the density of the material that looks to be a ceramic tile because there are some grooves in the material and it wouldn't be accurate. I've also placed all the materials in water to see their relative density compared to water. I'm just kind of out of ideas and I've searched the internet but I couldn't find much.
     
  6. Sep 14, 2013 #5

    SteamKing

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    How about an eyeball test? Examine the materials with a microscope.
     
  7. Sep 14, 2013 #6
    You can get the densities of the tiles by weighting the tiles, and then doing a water displacement test on them to determine their volume. There are also non-destructive tests you can do to measure mechanical properties, such as ultrasonic tests or speed of sound. You might also be able to do some sort of bending test on the samples, depending on their geometry.

    It doesn't seem like you've exhausted the list of properties you can measure. What about thermal properties? What about coefficient of thermal expansion?
     
  8. Sep 15, 2013 #7

    CWatters

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    Perhaps you could put them (some of them) between the plates of a capacitor and measure their dielectric properties?
     
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