Sample drilling is used to test the composition of a naturally occurring substance. A core sample is drilled with a hollow steel tube (called a core drill) which results in a cylindrical core sample which is then analysed to determine its composition. Sample drilling is often used in mining exploration to determine the quantities of desired minerals in a given exploration area.
Core samples, however, can also be used to determine the properties of man-made materials including concrete, metals and ceramics. In some cases samples are taken of biological materials including human bodies; this most often occurs with bone samples to test for the presence of a disease.
Before sampling can begin a practitioner must decide, based on the results they want to achieve, of the best techniques for containing the sample so that they can decide on the correct equipment, techniques and procedures to use.