Identifying Unknown Materials

SOCOTEC’s specialist chemistry team provides tailored testing services to a broad range of industries.

Unknown materials and substances found on-site, in products, or during processing can be a major cause for concern. ESG’s highly experienced experts offer individually designed solutions to help you identify your unknowns.


Our Services

SOCOTEC has established itself as a leading specialist in successfully examining and identifying unknown materials such as solids, solvents, deposits, oils and dusts. We provide key information for failure investigations, manufacturing issues and Health & Safety concerns within a wide range of industry sectors.

Our rapid identification methods allow you the peace of mind that contaminants will be classified swiftly, reducing process disruption.


Our testing services are frequently used in the following industries:


  • Foreign objects in foods/medical products
  • Unknown residues on surfaces
  • Machinery problems/failures
  • Unknown polymers
  • Unknown material deliveries
  • Unknown deposits in landfill
  • Unknown materials/dusts
  • Unknown deposits in fuels/oils/coolants
  • Premature failure of fuel/oil filters


Client-focussed Approach

Our expert scientists carry out a full client consultation before designing a personalised testing suite to identify your unknown material. SOCOTEC employs a diverse range of selective techniques to characterise the sample, including:

  • Optical Microscopy – initial identification
  • GC/MS – Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry
  • FTIR – Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
  • SEM/EDX – Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis


After determining the overall composition of the sample, our scientists document a full interpretive report with conclusions.


For further information about SOCOTEC and our specialist chemistry services, please contact us.