Do you wonder if your products can withstand the heat – or if they’ll crack, melt, shrink, or just fall apart?
Questions like this can often be answered by utilizing thermal analysis. Thermal analysis is a blanket term that refers to various analytical techniques that track changes to a substance as it is heated or cooled.
Read on to learn about top thermal testing techniques and when one might be a good choice for your upcoming project.
7 Types of Thermal Analysis to Heat Things Up
So, how do you know which type of thermal analysis is right for your project? It depends upon what you’re trying to accomplish. Here are some commonly used thermal analysis techniques:
1. Thermogravimetric Analysis
Do you want to know how temperature affects the weight of a material? In that case, one of the types of thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) is an excellent option.
TGA measures weight loss as a function of temperature in a controlled environment. The sample is weighed at room temperature before testing, and then the mass is monitored for changes as an increasing amount of heat is applied to the sample.
The analysis plots the temperature at which each of the components volatilizes. Because TGA identifies multiple points of weight loss, this technique can screen for additives, moisture and filler content within the polymer. It’s also commonly used to test the thermal stability in both solids and liquids.
2. Thermogravimetric Analysis With Evolved Gas Analysis
Is your goal to assess the vapors and gases that a sample produces when it’s exposed to heat? If so, outgassing testing such as thermogravimetric analysis with evolved gas analysis (TG-EGA) can provide the answers.
The TG-EGA technique studies the gas created as a heated sample undergoes decomposition. The equipment is the same as with TGA but with one addition: A gas analyzer that performs FTIR or GC/MS analysis on gases and vapors as they evolve from the heated sample.
3. Differential Scanning Calorimetry
Are you interested in understanding a sample’s enthalpy as it moves from one state to another? Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) may be the test for you.
DSC calculates heat flow by measuring how much heat it takes to increase the temperature of a sample compared to a reference material. Uses for DSC analysis include measuring heat flow during transitions, such as changing from a solid to a liquid; studying physical changes, including glass transitions, melting, and crystallization; and studying chemical changes, including oxidation and curing.
4. Differential Thermal Analysis
Do you want to understand how a sample’s temperature rises when subjected to heat? If so, differential thermal analysis (DTA) is an option.
DTA is similar to DSC – both compare heat information between a sample and a reference material. The primary difference is that DTA measures temperature difference while DSC measures heat flow difference. Like DSC analysis, DTA can effectively measure glass transitions, melting temperature, purity, and crystallization temperature.
5. Thermomechanical Analysis
Do you want to understand how a material’s physical properties change based on temperature? Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) can provide the answers.
TMA evaluates physical dimensions, mass, volume, and density change as a function of temperature, time, and applied force. Depending on the testing requirements, the force may change or be constant during the test. Additionally, the temperature regime may be predetermined or based on a feedback signal from the sample.
TMA is one of the most common techniques for measuring dimensional changes and solid and liquid materials, such as the coefficient of thermal expansion. It can also determine a material’s softening point, glass transition temperature, shrinkage, and physical changes due to age.
6. Dynamic Mechanical Analysis
Are you specifically concerned about the deformation characteristics of polymers? Consider dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA).
DMA is primarily used to study viscoelasticity, a combination of viscosity and elasticity, found in some materials as they undergo deformation. The DMA technique applies a sinusoidal shear strain using a physical force to determine a material’s resistance to deformation under vibratory conditions. In other words, how does a material stretch, compress, bend and shear when in motion?
Variations in the analysis include changing the sample temperature and stress frequency. DMA has many applications in polymer testing, including determining glass transitions and failure analysis.
7. Dielectric Analysis
Are you looking for an option for measuring insulation resistance properties of a material? Dielectric analysis (DEA) might be the answer.
DEA is similar to DMA – both analyses subject a substance to a sinusoidal shear strain to quantify deformation resistance under vibratory conditions. The difference is that DEA uses an oscillating electrical field, whereas DMA uses mechanical force.
DEA is used to measure insulative properties and identity changes in viscosity and cure states. It is especially effective at measuring invisible in-mold curing necessary for quality components. This technique is frequently used on materials such as resins, paints and adhesives both in the laboratory and in the manufacturing process.
Top Industries for Thermal Analysis
Thermal testing is valuable in any situation in which temperature can affect product stability or quality. Industries we support with thermal analysis include:
- Medical device
- Polymers and plastics
- Food and beverage
Contact Innovatech to Get Started
Innovatech has been turning up the heat in materials analysis for over 30 years. We’re known for personalized service, quick turnaround, and stellar results with TGA testing, DSC analysis, and countless other testing techniques.
To learn more, or for a quote, give us a call at 888-740-5227 or contact Innovatech Labs online.