There are a lot of situations that would require you to figure out what kind of material or element a specific object is made of, but it is important to note that it can be difficult to analyze such things without doing significant damage to the object in question due to the reason that it is often necessary to break the object apart or destroy it entirely in order to get the information that you might currently be looking for. In spite of the fact that this is the case, there are ways in which you can figure out what something is made of without destroying it, and perhaps the most effective way to go about doing this sort of thing would be to use magnetic particle testing.
This is one of the few kinds of tests out there that use non-destructive testing equipment, which means that the object in question will not undergo any type of damage at all. It uses magnetism to determine the contents of an item, and magnetism is not known to cause any kind of structural damage whatsoever which means that you can reasonably assume that the item you are trying to analyze will similarly be left safe and sound.
This form of testing has a number of applications that make it highly useful in a scientific setting. There are also quite a few normal people that find uses for it as well. You would do well to look into how magnetic particle testing can benefit you, as it is the type of test that has become increasingly popular in recent years and chances are that this upward trend will continue well into the future.