Materials characterization is the process of determining the physical and chemical properties of a material. It is an important step in understanding the behaviour of a material and how it will perform in different applications.
There is a wide range of techniques used in materials characterization, including:
- Microscopy: techniques such as optical microscopy, electron microscopy, and scanning probe microscopy that allow for the visual examination of a material at a microscopic level.
- Spectroscopy: techniques such as X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy that is used to analyse a material's chemical composition and crystal structure.
- Mechanical Testing: techniques such as tension, compression, and hardness testing that are used to determine a material's mechanical properties.
- Thermal Analysis: techniques such as differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis are used to determine a material's thermal properties.
- Surface analysis: techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy, and secondary ion mass spectroscopy that are used to examine the surface of a material.
Materials characterization is an essential field of study in materials science and engineering. Graduates of these programs may go on to work in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, biomedical, energy, and transportation.