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Thermal analysis characterisation suite DMA TGA DSC

The examination of the thermal properties of both organic and inorganic based samples gives an idea of the possible applications that a material can be used for. ANFF has access to three different thermal-analysis techniques such as differential scanning caliorimetry (DSC), thermal graviometry analysis (TGA) and differential mechanical analysis (DMA).

DSC is a technique where the heat flow of a sample cell is measured in comparison to a reference cell as a function of temperature. Thermal transitions such as melting points, glass transition temperatures or exothermic decompositions can be analysed. DSC is particularly useful in the analysis of polymers as it can give information vital for the suitability of a polymer for a particular application.

TGA is a technique where the weight of a sample cell is measured in comparison to a reference cell as a function of temperature. Sample features such as decomposition temperatures, moisture content, and the amount of volatile organics can be determined. The environment in which the measurement is taken can be modified eg whether it is an oxidative environment (air) or an inert environment (Argon) to analyse different thermal features of a sample.

DMA is a technique where the viscoelastic properties of a sample are tested. A sample undergoes an oscillation motion and the resulting displacement is measured. This technique is typically used to measure properties of polymer samples. A much more precise glass transition temperature can be obtained as well as the storage modulus.

Image right legend: a) Thermal analysis characterisation DSC & TGA b) DMA

Examples of use:

  • Measurement of the Glass Transition Temperature of polymers. Above the glass transition temperature a polymer is soft, rubbery and tacty such as low density polyethylene. Below the glass transition temperature a polymer is hard, stiff and brittle such as poly methyl methacrylate eg Persplex. The glass transition temperature can be measured by using either DMA or DSC. DMA is more accurate but the set sample geometry for testing and lengthy analysis makes DSC a much easier technique.
  • The purity of a sample can be analysed using TGA. Measurement of the decomposition and amount of water present in a zinc carbonate can indicate the purity of the sample and in some cases the phase structure such as Hydrozincite.
  • Thermal properties such as the thermal expansion co-efficient can be obtained from DMA. It is important to know how much a polymer will expand/contract with temperature during application so that the correct design of a system can be obtained. PMMA can be analysed to make sure that it can be used correctly in exterior applications where temperatures can range from -20oC to 50oC.
Fabrication step: Characterisation
Function: Bulk microscopy
Location: University of Queensland
Purpose: For testing analysis and characterisation of the thermal properties of polymers such as glass transition and thermal degradation
Material systems: Organic, inorganic and polymers
Node: Queensland
Scale/volume: individual sample/system analysis
Specifications/resolution: 1. DSC 150oC to 700oC; 34 position auto sampler; cryo cooling/nitrogen purge 2. DMA Temperature range 150 ... 500 °C; Peak force 12 N 18 N or 40 N; Minimal force 0.005 N; Frequency range 0.001 ... 1000 Hz 3.TGA 0oC to 1100oC; 34 position autosampl