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Interview Question

Product Design Engineer Interview Cupertino, CA

What are the different ways you can you tell if this part

  is steel or aluminium.

Interview Answer

4 Answers


Simply by using a magnet, Steel has metallic properties, and the magnet will connect.
Aluminium will do nothing.

CL on Sep 24, 2011

Many stainless steel alloys are not magnetic, so if your magnet is attracted to the material you will definitely know it is steel, but if it doesn't you will not know what the material is.

BW on Sep 24, 2011

Simple methods would be density (feeling the mass of the object), surface finish (color, texture). If coated that may give you the answer anodized would indicate aluminium. For more information I would go for EDX( Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy) and possible a cross section to look at the grain structure.

SB on Sep 30, 2011

By far the easiest way is to test for material properties.
-modulus of elasticity

I would choose hardness. Strike each item with an equal force, which one deforms more? Thats aluminum. You could probably pull this test off with a hammer. The simplest solutions is always the best.

dseeman on Nov 19, 2014

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