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The physical properties of materials are determined in a materials characterization lab with test equipment that can determine mechanical properties such as tensile and compressive strength, hardness, scratch resistance, modulus of elasticity, elongation and fatigue limits. When a product fails, SEM can be used to determine causes through imaging and identify non-homogeneous or weaker locations in a material.
The Thermo Phenom XL desktop SEM can additionally be equipped with the Tensile Sample Holder. This is a miniature mechanical test bench used to perform in situ tensile, compression and bending tests on materials. Here, force-displacement or stress-strain diagrams are recorded, supplemented by SEM video recordings of the sample during the mechanical test.