Chemical compatibility is the measure given to a substance in reference to its stability when mixed with another substance. Substances which do not change or alter when mixed are considered to be compatible with each other whilst substances which react or change when mixed will be labelled as incompatible.
Material selection is extremely important when choosing it for applications which may be subjected to environments which expose the materials to harsh or aggressive environments. Harsh chemicals such as acids, solvents, oxidisers and fuels can all severely affect a material and cause it to fail by errosion, causing spills and tears across the previously mentioned material.
For this reason chemical compatibility tests are taken out on a wide range of materials and substances and compatibility charts are produced to inform users as to the safe use of chemicals and materials. Materials and chemicals will be tested over a given amount of time (typically 48hrs) and will also take in to account pressures and temperatures etc.
There are a range of tests which are undertaken but some of them include:
Combustion of Metals
Heat of Combustion
Failure Modes and Effects
Chemical compatibility charts are available free on the internet from a wide variety of UK companies and are a valuable tool.