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Thermal Analysis Facility

Thermal analysis is used to characterize materials by monitoring changes in physical or thermal properties as a function of time and temperature. Thermal analysis is often used to certify product quality of plastics, thermoset materials, foods, and elastomers. The Instrument Center has the following capabilities in thermal analysis.

Differential scanning calorimetry

Measures energy flow and temperature associated with chemical reactions or changes in physical state.

Available instrumentation

  • Perkin Elmer DSC-7 with drybox, liquid nitrogen cooling, temperature range -170°C to 725°C. Normal sample size is 0.5 to 30 mg.


  • Melting point analysis
  • Glass transition temperature
  • Kinetics
  • Specific heat
  • Degree of cure
  • Study of chemical reactions and changes of state

Thermogravimetric analysis

Used to study processes where weight changes as a function of time or temperature.

Available instrumentation

  • Perkin Elmer TGA 7 with temperature range of room temperature to 1000°C, balance sensitivity of 0.1 mg, and sample size of 2 to 50 mg.


  • Determination of water or volatile content
  • Temperature dependent chemical reactions (loss of carbon dioxide, etc.)
  • Decomposition temperature/limit of stability
  • Quantitation of components in mixtures
  • Quantitation of fillers and reinforcing agents in plastics