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There are a variety of methods used for testing raw materials; however, there were no consistently applied standards for any one industry through the year 2011. Methods utilized vary by industry and often consist of a variety of analytical testing methods to include materials analysis, chemical analysis, failure analysis, composite analysis and forensic analysis. Testing of raw materials is considered important to the manufacturing process as well as the performance of the end product. Manufacturers conduct such testing and analysis in an attempt to ensure that the raw materials they use are appropriate for their intended function. Using the wrong materials for a specific function can cause unintended consequences, such as severe side effects in drugs or brake failure in automobiles.
Materials testing and analysis is used in a variety of industries to include aerospace, technology, building products manufacturing or any industry that relies on physical materials performing a substantial part of a products intended function. Various methods of testing raw materials in these industries may include corrosive resistance tests, environmental exposure testing, durability testing, and fire testing. Other test methods may include analyzing and testing physical properties, metallurgy and performance testing. Failure tests are also a very important part of testing material used in these industries, and sometimes chemical analysis is important as well to determine strengthening properties.
Chemical analysis methods of testing raw materials are important to both pharmaceutical firms as well as products manufacturers — particularly those manufacturing chemical-based products, such as paint or pesticides. Different methods are usually deployed; depending on the chemicals tested, this may include chemical trace analysis, screening tests, impurities tracing and testing, chemical compound analysis, contamination testing, and supporting research methods. With pharmaceutical companies, testing for and ensuring dosage accuracies for drugs is crucial before manufacturing and releasing the drugs to the market. Performed by qualified chemical scientists, chemical testing and analysis can help a manufacturer ensure both the safety of its products as well as the intended performance.
Forensic analysis is another important part of testing raw materials. More purely analytical, forensic analysis is applied to a wide range of industries to include industrial forensics, textile manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Methods used may include reverse engineering, mechanical testing, trace evidence procedures, both fracture and failure tests as well as analysis, and chemical resistance testing. Scientists that specialize in forensics usually conduct these types of tests, and results are often used in legal situations or submitted to insurance companies.
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