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I have a structure which I need to know some of its mechanical properties, using the standard values is good enough so looking into a mechanical properties chart of various materials would be ok. The problem is that I don't know what is the material the structure is made and I cannot disassembly it and neither do a tensile test or a crystallography analysis

How can I identify the material of the structure?

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    $\begingroup$ you can start by taking a picture of it and sharing it here. Many times, the material something is made of can be identified by looking at it and noting how it was shaped: forged, stamped, sand-cast, die cast, extruded, machined, and so forth. Looking forward to hearing from you. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Feb 15 '18 at 8:10
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    $\begingroup$ Metal? Plastic? Ceramic? as niels says, the more we know the better the chance we can further narrow it down. $\endgroup$ – mart Feb 15 '18 at 9:22
  • $\begingroup$ It's an old joke with a real message behind it: Ask the object! In this case, how about finding a manufacturer's tag and then looking up the info for that model in their database or user manual. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Feb 15 '18 at 18:03
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your comments I'm thinking about calculate its volume then weigh the structure and compare densities. $\endgroup$ – Paul Lara Feb 15 '18 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ By the way it is a very light metal I was thinking of aluminum but some say it may be steel, I asked what it was and they literally told me "that's your problem" $\endgroup$ – Paul Lara Feb 15 '18 at 18:36
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Surely you know something about the material.

If it's metal or otherwise made of "heavy" elements, one way is a X-ray spectrometer. These come in hand-held gun-style devices. You basically point it at what you want to know the composition of, pull the trigger, and it tells you within a few seconds.

I have seen these things in action, and they are surprisingly sensitive. These devices generally come with a built-in library of common materials and alloys. I've seen one distinguish between several different types of stainless steel, for example.

Another common use for these devices is in assaying minerals. You literally point it at a rock and it tells you what minerals are in it.

Yet another common use is to check for lead in paint coating, or in toys imported from locations with questionable practices.

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