Many articles can be analysed using the relatively simple techniques described here. This can help with determining the types of material used for different components, their composition, and also processing history. The examination of an article can start to put into use the methods and theory of materials science. Looking at the mechanical, thermal and aesthetic properties of materials can help materials scientists design similar items.
The range of techniques available today is very large, but often a reasonable amount of understanding can be gained from fairly simple techniques and using some common sense. It is essential not to forget the importance of stepping back from results and considering whether or not they are logical; do they fulfil the requirements in terms of mechanical, thermal, aesthetic and economic properties?
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