The instruments in the Thermal Analysis lab allow us to measure many temperature-dependent phenomenon, such as decomposition, chemical reactions, melting points, glass transition and other phase transitions.
Work in this lab helps support research in the area of lubricants, photolithography, dielectric materials and polymer science.
A variety of analysis techniques are in use:
Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)
TGA measures weight changes in a material as a function of temperature (up to 600°C) or time under a controlled atmosphere.
Its principal uses include measurement of a material's thermal stability and composition. TGA instruments are routinely used in all phases of research, quality control and production operations. Autosampler capability enables unattended, off-hours operation.
Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA)
DMA measures the mechanical properties of materials as a function of time, temperature, and mechanical (e.g. vibration) frequency. Non-contact, linear drive motor technology provides precise stress control. An optical encoder measures strain, and an air bearing insures virtually friction-free movement. The DMA operates over a wide temperature range (-120 to 500°C) and provides multiple modes of deformation including, dual/single cantilever and 3-point bending, tension, compression and shear. The clamps are individually calibrated for data accuracy. The frequency range is usually 0.01-30Hz. In some cases, the technique provides a quantitative measure of modulus and is most commonly used to obtain glass transition values of thermoplastic and thermosetting materials.
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
DSC measures temperatures and heat flows associated with thermal
transitions in materials. Properties measured include: glass
transitions, phase changes, melting, crystallization, reactions
and reaction kinetics, and stability. In the modulated mode
(MDSC), the technique provides a direct and continuous
measurement of heat capacity as well as the heat flow and is
useful in analyzing complex reacting systems. The
temperature range is -120 to 500°C. Autosampler capability enables
unattended, continuous operation.
Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA)
TMA measures dimensional changes in a material as a function of
temperature or time under a controlled atmosphere. Its main use
is to measure accurately the coefficient of linear expansion
of materials. It can also detect transitions in materials,
such as glass transition and softening temperatures . Several
measurement modes --expansion, penetration, and
tension -- are available for analyzing solids and thin-film samples.