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A materials property is an intensive, often quantitative, property of a solid or quasi-solid. Quantitative properties may be used as a metric by which the benefits of one material versus another can be assessed, thereby aiding in materials selection.
A property may be a constant or may be a function of one or more independent variables, such as temperature. Materials properties often vary to some degree according to the direction in the material in which they are measured, a condition referred to as anisotropy. Materials properties that relate two different physical phenomena often behave linearly (or approximately so) in a given operating range, and may then be modeled as a constant for that range. This linearization can significantly simplify the differential constitutive equations that the property describes.
Some materials properties are used in relevant equations to predict the attributes of a system a priori. For example, if a material of a known specific heat gains or loses a known amount of heat, the temperature change of that material can be determined. Materials properties are most reliably measured by standardized test methods. Many such test methods have been documented by their respective user communities and published through ASTM International.