Material Testing Services Information

Material testing services test, analyze, and certify a wide range of materials for purity, chemical compatibility, and environmental impact. Material testing is commonly required to ensure that products can perform their intended application for their expected life. This type of testing is also done to investigate material failure and identify material composition based on chemical or elemental analysis.

Material Testing Services

A complete table of the different types of material testing services is shown below. Please click the link to see a video demonstration of the test.

Material Testing Services



Chemical Analysis


Ash Testing

Ash testing quantifies fillers and inorganic pigments.

Approximate measure of mineral content and other inorganic matter in biomass.

Chemical Extraction

Chemical extraction removes elements through a reaction with a solution.

Chromatography. Two major types: Acid extraction (hydrochloric acid) and Solvent extraction (organic).

Treatment and reduction of hazardous waste. Physical separation is often used first.

Residuals may be created due to organically bound metals be extracted along with target pollutants.


Chromatography is a set of laboratory techniques for the separation of mixtures. The various constituents of the mixture travel at different speeds, causing them to separate.

Used to identify components of a mixture


Combustion is an exothermic chemical reaction due to rapid oxidation.

Best used for gas or fuel oil burners. There are several types of combustion testing including testing for Carbon Dioxide, Smoke, and the Stack Temperature.


Reverse engineering of formulated chemical substance.

Used to separate and identify individual chemical components, often for competitive advantage.


Metallography is the study of physical structure components of metals. 

Used to identify alloys and predict material properties

Wet Chemical Analysis

Wet chemistry describes chemistry done in the liquid phase.

Used to provide qualitative chemical measures, such as change in color, and quantitative data from gravimetry and titrimetry.

Isotopic Analysis

Isotope ratios are measured using mass spectrometry.

Used to identify the isotopic signature, distribution of stable isotopes, and chemical elements within chemical compounds. Often done in the food industry, forensics, and geology.

UV/VIS Spectroscopy

UV spectroscopy is very similar to absorption spectroscopy except that it uses the ultraviolet spectral region.

Used for chemical analysis and to determine concentration of different analytes.

Elemental Analysis


Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

Atomic Absorption (AA) is a spectroanalytic procedure which makes use of absorption spectrometry. It requires standards with known content to establish results.

Used to determine the concentration of a particular element in a sample.

Auger Spectroscopy

The underlying technique of Auger Spectroscopy is the Auger effect, which is based on the analysis of energetic electrons emitted from an excited atom after a series of internal relaxation events.

Auger spectroscopy is an analytical technique used for the study of surfaces and material science.

Plastic Emission Spectroscopy

Emission is when matter loses energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Classic emission spectroscopy is based on excitation of atoms or molecules into higher electronic states due to electron impact, photon absorption or thermal excitation at high temperature.

Used to identify properties of plastic such as safety and recyclability.

Infrared Spectroscopy

Infrared (IR) spectroscopy measures the wavelength and absorption intensity of infrared light.

Used in quality control, long-term monitoring, and change measurement for organic and inorganic chemistry. It is also used in forensic analysis and material testing.

Mass Spectroscopy

Chemical analysis with inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) excites atoms for atomic emission spectroscopy and ionizes atoms for mass spectrometry.

Used to identify isotopic composition of elements within a sample, gas analysis, pharmacokinetics, and protein characterization.


Microscopy uses instruments such as optical and electron microscopes to study the structure and composition of materials.

Used to perform isotope dating and tracking, trace gas analysis, pharmacokinetics, and protein characterization.

Scanning Electron Microscopy

A scanning electron microscope (SEM) is an electron microscope that produces images by scanning a sample with electrons. An image is produced that shows the topography of the sample.

Used to observe the distribution of different elements in a sample. SEM provides very detailed images of the surface of the sample.

Trace Analysis

Trace analysis samples and tests materials by dissolving the material in a solvent and subjecting it to a separation technique.

Used to analyze materials below one part per million or a material which has a matrix (concentration of analytic is very small) that will cause difficulty.

X-Ray Fluorescence

X-Ray fluorescence is the emission characteristic “secondary” X-rays from a material that has been bombarded with high-energy X-rays.

Use for elemental and chemical analysis in the investigation of metals, glass, ceramics, and building materials.

Acoustic Microscopy

Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) focuses sound waves at a small point on a target object. By observing the scatter pattern/ absorption amount an image of the object can be created.

Used to image and observe materials. It is a type of NDT and often used for failure analysis.

Optical Emission Spectroscopy

Optical emission spectroscopy, also known as atomic emission spectroscopy (AES) works by exciting atoms by energy from a spark formed between the material sample and an electrode.

Used for elemental analysis of metals and semiconductors.

Inductively Coupled Plasma

Inductively coupled plasma is achieved by ionizing the sample with the plasma and the using a mass spectrometer to separate and qualify the ions.

Used to detect metals and non-metals at concentrations as low as one part per trillion.


Spectroradiometers are similar to spectrophotometers in the visible region.

Used to measure the spectral power distribution of illuminants. They are often used to evaluate lighting for sale by manufacturers, or for customers.

Property Analysis



A light source (i.e. laser) to diffract the light off the various grains in the material. From the pattern, the diameter of the grains can be determined.

Diffraction evaluates crystal structure, grain size, texture and/or residual stress.

Non-Destructive Testing

Non-destructive testing (NDT) examines materials without impairing their future usefulness.

NDT is done in many industries from automotive to construction.

Particle Size/Sieve Analysis

Sieve analysis can be performed on organic and non-organic materials. The material is sent through a series of wire mesh cloths (sieves). The mesh has smaller openings as the material travels through them.

Used to assess the particle size distribution (gradation of a granular material) of a granular material.

Property Testing

Property testing uses tensile, compressive, flexural, and tear strength tests.

Property testing measures electrical, thermal, mechanical, or chemical characteristics.


Rheology analyzes fluids based on viscosity and elastic response.

Used to observe the viscosity properties of polymers, as well as the flow of products used in the manufacturing of food, concrete, and polymers.

Mechanical Testing

Mechanical testing often includes mathematical models and small scale stress test experiments to simulate real life examples.

Used to estimate how much stress the material will experience and what materials meet those specifications.

Application Testing


Environmental Testing

Environmental testing subjects media to conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Used to verify if a material can withstand harsh environments.

Failure Analysis

Several methods are used to analyze failure, such as microscopes, surface analysis, and software.

Failure analysis determines how and why materials fail.

Hermeticity Testing

Hermeticity testing is a type of failure analysis. Fine leakage tests are done by using a vacuum to remove anything trapped within the package cavity, socking the package in Helium atmosphere under pressure, and taking precise measurements of the He leakage. Gross leak testing is done with fluorocarbon and a visual observation.

Used to detect ambient leakage paths into the cavity of a hermetic package. The tests for a fine leak and a gross leak are different, and both need to be done for accurate testing.

Geotechnical Services

Geotechnical services apply the science of soil mechanics, rock mechanics, engineering geology and other related disciplines to engineering and environmental projects.

Used to obtain information on the physical properties of soil and rock around a worksite before construction. It is also used to measure thermal resistivity of soils for underground transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines, radioactive waste disposal, and solar thermal storage facilities.

Thermal Analysis

Thermal analysis includes calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), dynamic thermal analysis (DTA).

Used to test how a material responds to temperature changes.

Standards Testing Or Certification

Standards testing is performed by unbiased laboratories using many of the techniques described in this table.

Used to ensure that products and materials meet particular standards for proper function, safety, accuracy, and lifecycle expectancy.


Material Testing Capabilities



Assays / Quantitative

Assays or quantitative analysis determines the amount or percentage of one or more constituents or components of a sample.

Cleanliness Monitoring / Testing

Cleanliness monitoring samples and/or test the cleanliness levels or identifies contamination in cleanrooms through evaluations of cleanroom air, work surfaces, lab ware, tools, and/or equipment.

Environmental Exposure Testing

Environmental exposure testing uses methods that subject media to environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and UV or sunlight exposure.

Field Sampling

Field sampling involves sample collection from the environment in which the material or product will operate.

Monitoring Programs (Audits / Surveillance)

Monitoring and auditing programs pay attention to groundwater, surface water, air, soil etc.

Quality / Purity (Contamination - Alloys, Polymers, etc.)

Purity testing companies have the ability to analyze and characterize air, water, food, or other product samples for quality or purity. For example, water quality or purity is often evaluated using Source Drinking Water Analysis (SDWA) methods.

Reactivity (Corrosivity, Toxicity, Ignitability)

Toxicity / reactivity analysis is used to determine the toxicity, reactivity, corrosivity, ignitability, or flammability of a substance.

Report Preparation

Services include report preparation.

Sample Pickup / Report Courier

Companies can pick up or courier samples, test results, or reports.

Sample Retention

Sample retention holds samples for a period of time after testing. The supplier may retain the samples for an extended period of time for an additional storage fee.

Sunlight Exposure / Solar Simulation

Sunlight exposure or solar simulation testing evaluates a material or chemical product's resistance to UV or simulated sunlight exposure. UV resistant or high weatherability materials will not degrade as fast or at all after extended exposure to sunlight.

Umpire Testing

Umpire testing compares the test results of the same sample, which have been tested by different laboratories. Umpire assayers or referee testers compare the two or more other labs results to their own rigorous internal assays or tests. Interlaboratory comparisons, round robins, or proficiency testing services are a valuable continuous improvement tool that translates into improved measurement quality.

Waste Characterization

Waste characterization of a solid waste is an initial risk assessment step in a program for managing waste streams to meet RCRA guideline.


Material Testing Services Applications

How to Select Material Testing Services

Material testing services are used in almost all industries including, but not limited to aerospace, automotive, marine, medical, military, pharmaceutical, or packaging applications. Other test chemicals are used in electronic devices, semiconductors, or integrated circuits (ICs).

Material testing services is important in the medical industry to investigate tissue/material interaction. This service is also done on large construction sites to ensure the strength of building materials, on the soil of building sites to test for durability and safety of ground material, and in the food industry to test the safety of chemical compounds and the food packaging.

Tested Materials

Materials testing includes many different types of materials including:

Material Testing Standards

There are several organizations which maintain standards relating to the composition, usage, and testing of materials in particular applications. Other standard organizations, such as the American Society for Testing Materials, oversee material testing in general to ensure that materials are safe for their intended application.

  • U.S. military specifications (MIL-SPEC)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • American Welding Society (AWS)
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)
  • American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)
  • International Standards Organization (ISO)
  • National Aerospace and Defense Contractor (NADCAP)
  • National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP)
  • Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) certification

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West Cost Industries

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