This paper considers intervals of real matrices with respect to partial orders and the problem to infer from some exposed matrices lying on the boundary of such an interval that all real matrices taken from the interval possess a certain property. In many cases such a property requires that the chosen matrices have an identically signed inverse. We also briefly survey related problems, e.g., the invariance of matrix properties under entry-wise perturbations.

We consider classes of (Formula presented.)-by-(Formula presented.) sign regular matrices, i.e. of matrices with the property that all their minors of fixed order (Formula presented.) have one specified sign or are allowed also to vanish, (Formula presented.). If the sign is nonpositive for all (Formula presented.), such a matrix is called totally nonpositive. The application of the Cauchon algorithm to nonsingular totally nonpositive matrices is investigated and a new determinantal test for these matrices is derived. Also matrix intervals with respect to the checkerboard ordering are considered. This order is obtained from the usual entry-wise ordering on the set of the (Formula presented.)-by-(Formula presented.) matrices by reversing the inequality sign for each entry in a checkerboard fashion. For some classes of sign regular matrices, it is shown that if the two bound matrices of such a matrix interval are both in the same class then all matrices lying between these two bound matrices are in the same class, too.