Sample (material)

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Samples of different Rosé Wines in glass tubes showing range of colours available.
sampling cock to take samples of crystal suspension in vacuum pans in the sugar industry

In general, a sample is a limited quantity of something which is intended to be similar to and represent a larger amount of that thing(s). The things could be countable objects such as individual items available as units for sale, or a material not countable as individual items. Even though the word sample implies a smaller quantity taken from a larger amount, sometimes full specimens are called samples if they are taken for analysis, testing, or investigation like other samples. An act of obtaining a sample is called sampling, which can be done by a person or automatically. Samples of material can be taken or provided for testing, analysis, inspection, investigation, demonstration, or trial use. Sometimes, sampling may be continuously ongoing.

Sample characteristics[edit]

The material may be solid, liquid, gas, material of some intermediate characteristics such as gel or sputum, tissue, organisms, or a combination of these. Even if a material sample is not countable as individual items, the quantity of the sample may still be describable in terms of its volume, mass, size, or other such dimensions. A solid sample can come in one or a few discrete pieces, or can be fragmented, granular, or powdered. A section of a rod, wire, cord, sheeting, or tubing may be considered a sample. Samples which are not a solid piece are commonly kept in a container of some sort. In the field of science, a liquid sample is sometimes called an aliquot.

See also[edit]