Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) Analysis

Differential Scanning Calorimetry analysis performed by our scientists, committed to Total Quality Assurance

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis technique in which the heat flow into or out of a sample is measured as a function of temperature or time, while the sample is exposed to a controlled temperature program. It is a very powerful technique to evaluate material properties such as glass transition temperature, melting, crystallization, specific heat capacity, cure process, purity, oxidation behavior, and thermal stability.

DSC analysis provides test data for a wide range of materials, including polymers, plastics, composites, laminates, adhesives, food, coatings, pharmaceuticals, organic materials, rubber, petroleum, chemicals, explosives, biological samples and more.

DSC also measures the rate of heat flow and compares differences between the heat flow rate of the test sample and known reference materials. The difference determines variations in material composition, crystallinity and oxidation.

An example of DSC analysis:
A small amount of sample (1-15 mg) was contained within a closed crucible and placed into a temperature-controlled DSC cell.  A second crucible without sample was used as a reference.; A typical DSC run involves heating/cooling the sample at a controlled steady rate, and monitoring the heat flow to characterize the phase transitions and/or cure reactions as a function of temperature.; More involved studies can adopt multi heating/cooling steps as well as isothermal mode.

Modulated DSC which utilizes a temperature modulation technique can be used to determine weak transitions and separate overlapping thermal events.

Key elements of DSC analysis

  • Characterizes thermal phase transitions (e.g. melting, crystallization, Tg) and measuring heat of fusion and heat of crystallization. The information can be used to determine best processing temperatures, obtaining thermal fingerprints of the materials; comparing thermal properties of the materials with different performance (ASTM  E 793-06; ASTM E 794-06)
  • Determines specific heat capacity (ASTM E1269-11) of pure compounds or mixtures
  • Determines purity of relatively pure substances (ASTM E 928-08)
  • Determines phase separation of polymer blend, copolymers
  • Characterizes cure process, glass transition temperature of the cured sample and residue cure
  • Performs Oxidation Induction Time (OIT) (ASTM D 3895)
  • Modulates DSC to determine weak subtle transitions and to separate overlapping thermal events
  • Assesses thermal stability (ASTM E 537-12)
  • Prepares kinetic study of chemical reaction or decomposition (ASTM E 698-11)

Intertek laboratory scientists offer substantial expertise in the field of thermal analysis. Determination of endotherms, exotherms and weight loss on heating or cooling are performed.  

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