Thermal analysis
Thermal analysis is a branch of materials science
Materials science
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

 where the properties of materials are studied as they change with temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

. Several methods are commonly used - these are distinguished from one another by the property which is measured:
  • Differential thermal analysis
    Differential thermal analysis
    Differential thermal analysis is a thermoanalytic technique, similar to differential scanning calorimetry. In DTA, the material under study and an inert reference are made to undergo identical thermal cycles, while recording any temperature difference between sample and reference...

     (DTA): temperature difference
  • Differential scanning calorimetry
    Differential scanning calorimetry
    Differential scanning calorimetry or DSC is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature. Both the sample and reference are maintained at nearly the same temperature...

     (DSC): heat difference
  • Thermogravimetric analysis
    Thermogravimetric analysis
    Thermogravimetric analysis or thermal gravimetric analysis is a type of testing performed on samples that determines changes in weight in relation to change in temperature. Such analysis relies on a high degree of precision in three measurements: weight, temperature, and temperature change...

     (TGA): mass
  • Thermomechanical analysis
    Thermomechanical analysis
    Thermomechanical analysis is a technique used in thermal analysis, a branch of materials science which studies the properties of materials as they change with temperature....

     (TMA): dimension
  • Dilatometry
    A dilatometer is a scientific instrument that measures volume changes caused by a physical or chemical process. A familiar application of a dilatometer is the mercury-in-glass thermometer, in which the change in volume of the liquid column is read from a graduated scale...

     (DIL): volume
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis
    Dynamic mechanical analysis
    Dynamic mechanical analysis is a technique used to study and characterize materials. It is most useful for studying the viscoelastic behavior of polymers. A sinusoidal stress is applied and the strain in the material is measured, allowing one to determine the complex modulus...

     (DMA) : mechanical stiffness & damping
  • Dielectric thermal analysis
    Dielectric thermal analysis
    Dielectric Thermal Analysis , or Dielectric Analysis , is a materials science technique similar to dynamic mechanical analysis except that an oscillating electrical field is used instead of a mechanical force...

     (DEA): dielectric permittivity & loss factor
  • Evolved gas analysis
    Evolved gas analysis
    Evolved gas analysis is a method used to study the gas evolved from a heated sample that undergoes decomposition or desorption. It is possible to detect which gas is evolved using evolved gas detection...

     (EGA) : gaseous decomposition products
  • Thermo-optical analysis(TOA) : optical properties

Simultaneous Thermal Analysis (STA) generally refers to the simultaneous application of Thermogravimetry
Thermogravimetry is a branch of physical chemistry, materials research, and thermal analysis...

 (TGA) and Differential scanning calorimetry
Differential scanning calorimetry
Differential scanning calorimetry or DSC is a thermoanalytical technique in which the difference in the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a sample and reference is measured as a function of temperature. Both the sample and reference are maintained at nearly the same temperature...

 (DSC) to one and the same sample in a single instrument. The test conditions are perfectly identical for the TGA and DSC signals (same atmosphere, gas flow rate, vapor pressure of the sample, heating rate, thermal contact to the sample crucible and sensor, radiation effect, etc.). The information gathered can even be enhanced by coupling the STA instrument to an Evolved Gas Analyzer (EGA) like Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy is a technique which is used to obtain an infrared spectrum of absorption, emission, photoconductivity or Raman scattering of a solid, liquid or gas. An FTIR spectrometer simultaneously collects spectral data in a wide spectral range...

 (FTIR) or Mass Spectometry (MS).

Other, less-common, methods measure the sound or light emission from a sample, or the electrical discharge from a dielectric material, or the mechanical relaxation in a stressed specimen. The essence of all these techniques is that the sample's response is recorded as a function of temperature (and time).

It is usual to control the temperature in a predetermined way - either by a continuous increase or decrease in temperature at a constant rate (linear heating/cooling) or by carrying out a series of determinations at different temperatures (stepwise isothermal measurements). More advanced temperature profiles have been developed which use an oscillating (usually sine or square wave) heating rate (Modulated Temperature Thermal Analysis) or modify the heating rate in response to changes in the system's properties (Sample Controlled Thermal Analysis).

In addition to controlling the temperature of the sample, it is also important to control its environment (e.g. atmosphere). Measurements may be carried out in air or under an inert gas (e.g. nitrogen or helium). Reducing or reactive atmospheres have also been used and measurements are even carried out with the sample surrounded by water or other liquids. Inverse gas chromatography
Inverse gas chromatography
Inverse gas chromatography is a physical characterization technique that is used in the analysis of the surfaces of solids. Traditional GC is an analytical technique....

 is a technique which studies the interaction of gases and vapours with a surface - measurements are often made at different temperatures so that these experiments can be considered to come under the auspices of Thermal Analysis.

Atomic force microscopy
Atomic force microscope
Atomic force microscopy or scanning force microscopy is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy, with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit...

 uses a fine stylus to map the topography and mechanical properties of surfaces to high spatial resolution. By controlling the temperature of the heated tip and/or the sample a form of spatially resolved thermal analysis can be carried out.

Thermal Analysis is also often used as a term for the study of Heat transfer
Heat transfer
Heat transfer is a discipline of thermal engineering that concerns the exchange of thermal energy from one physical system to another. Heat transfer is classified into various mechanisms, such as heat conduction, convection, thermal radiation, and phase-change transfer...

 through structures. Many of the basic engineering data for modelling such systems comes from measurements of heat capacity and Thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the property of a material's ability to conduct heat. It appears primarily in Fourier's Law for heat conduction....


Thermal Analysis of Pharma Materials

DSC,TG/DTA and TG/DTA-IR are often used for characterisation of pharma materials. DSC, alone or in combination with hot-stage microscopy, is able to differentiate between different polymorphic structures and, by using different heating rates, can investigate the transformations which occur during the polymorphic transformation. By using appropriate heating rates, polymorphic purity can be determined, and can involve heating rates up to 750°C/min. TGA is often used to measure residual solvents and moisture, but can also be used to determine solubility of pharma materials in solvents. Analysis of pharma materials is probably the largest area of application for thermal analysis.

Thermal Analysis of Polymers

Polymers represent another large area in which thermal analysis finds strong applications. Thermoplastic polymers are commonly found in everyday packaging and household items, but for the analysis of the raw materials, effects of the many additive used (including stabilisers and colours) and fine-tuning of the moulding or extrusion processing used can be achieved by using DSC. An example is oxidation induction time (OIT) by DSC which can determine the amount of oxidation stabiliser present in a thermoplastic (usually a polyolefin) polymer material. Compositional analysis is often made using TGA, which can separate fillers, polymer resin and other additives. TGA can also give an indication of thermal stability and the effects of additives such as flame retardants

Thermal analysis of composite materials, such as carbon fibre composites or glass epoxy composites are often carried out using DMA or DMTA, which can measure the stiffness of materials by determining the modulus and damping (energy absorbing) properties of the material. Aerospace companies often employ these analysers in routine quality control to ensure that products being manufactured meet the required strength specifications. Formula 1 racing car manufacturers also have similar requirements! DSC is used to determine the curing properties of the resins used in composite materials, and can also confirm whether a resin can be cured and how much heat is evolved during that process. Application of predictive kinetics analysis can help to fine-tune manufacturing processes. Another example is that TGA can be used to measure the fibre content of composites by heating a sample to remove the resin by application of heat and then determining the mass remaining.

Thermal Analysis of Metals

Production of many metals (cast iron
Cast iron
Cast iron is derived from pig iron, and while it usually refers to gray iron, it also identifies a large group of ferrous alloys which solidify with a eutectic. The color of a fractured surface can be used to identify an alloy. White cast iron is named after its white surface when fractured, due...

, grey iron, ductile iron
Ductile iron
Ductile iron, also known as ductile cast iron, nodular cast iron, spheroidal graphite iron, spherulitic graphite cast iron and SG iron, is a type of cast iron invented in 1943 by Keith Millis...

, compacted graphite iron
Compacted graphite iron
Compacted graphite iron , also known as vermicular graphite iron especially in non-English speaking countries, is a metal which is gaining popularity in applications that require either greater strength, or lower weight than cast iron.R.D...

, 3000 series aluminium alloys, copper alloys
Copper alloys
Copper alloys are metal alloys that have copper as their principal component. They have high resistance against corrosion. The best known traditional types are bronze, where tin is a significant addition, and brass, using zinc instead...

, silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

, and complex steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

s) are aided by a production technique also referred to as thermal analysis. A sample of liquid metal is removed from the furnace or ladle and poured into a sample cup with a thermocouple embedded in it. The temperature is then monitored, and the phase diagram arrests (liquidus, eutectic, and solidus
Solidus (chemistry)
In chemistry, materials science, and physics, the solidus is the locus of temperatures below which a given substance is completely solid...

) are noted. From this information chemical composition based on the phase diagram can be calculated, or the crystalline structure of the cast sample can be estimated. Strictly speaking these measurements are cooling curves and a form of sample controlled thermal analysis whereby the cooling rate of the sample is dependent on the cup material (usually bonded sand) and sample volume which is normally a constant due to the use of standard sized sample cups.

Advanced techniques use differential curves to locate endothermic inflection points such as gas holes, and shrinkage, or exothermic phases such as carbides, beta crystals, inter crystalline copper, magnesium silicide, iron phosphide's and other phases as they solidify. Detection limits seem to be around 0.01% to 0.03% of volume.

In addition, integration of the area between the zero curve and the first derivative is a measure of the specific heat of that part of the solidification which can lead to rough estimates of the percent volume of a phase. (Something has to be either known or assumed about the specific heat of the phase versus the overall specific heat.) In spite of this limitation, this method is better than estimates from two dimensional micro analysis, and a lot faster than chemical dissolution.

Thermal Analysis of Foods

Most foods are subjected to variations in their temperature during production, transport, storage, preparation and consumption, e.g., pasteurization
Pasteurization is a process of heating a food, usually liquid, to a specific temperature for a definite length of time, and then cooling it immediately. This process slows microbial growth in food...

, sterilization
Sterilization (microbiology)
Sterilization is a term referring to any process that eliminates or kills all forms of microbial life, including transmissible agents present on a surface, contained in a fluid, in medication, or in a compound such as biological culture media...

, evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

, cooking
Cooking is the process of preparing food by use of heat. Cooking techniques and ingredients vary widely across the world, reflecting unique environmental, economic, and cultural traditions. Cooks themselves also vary widely in skill and training...

, freezing
Freezing or solidification is a phase change in which a liquid turns into a solid when its temperature is lowered below its freezing point. The reverse process is melting....

, chilling, etc. Temperature changes cause alterations in the physical and chemical properties of food components which influence the overall properties of the final product, e.g., taste, appearance, texture and stability. Chemical reactions such as hydrolysis
Hydrolysis is a chemical reaction during which molecules of water are split into hydrogen cations and hydroxide anions in the process of a chemical mechanism. It is the type of reaction that is used to break down certain polymers, especially those made by condensation polymerization...

, oxidation or reduction
Redox reactions describe all chemical reactions in which atoms have their oxidation state changed....

 may be promoted, or physical changes, such as evaporation, melting
Melting, or fusion, is a physical process that results in the phase change of a substance from a solid to a liquid. The internal energy of a substance is increased, typically by the application of heat or pressure, resulting in a rise of its temperature to the melting point, at which the rigid...

, crystallization
Crystallization is the process of formation of solid crystals precipitating from a solution, melt or more rarely deposited directly from a gas. Crystallization is also a chemical solid–liquid separation technique, in which mass transfer of a solute from the liquid solution to a pure solid...

, aggregation or gelation may occur. A better understanding of the influence of temperature on the properties of foods enables food manufacturers to optimize processing conditions and improve product quality. It is therefore important for food scientists to have analytical techniques to monitor the changes that occur in foods when their temperature varies. These techniques are often grouped under the general heading of thermal analysis. In principle, most analytical techniques can be used, or easily adapted, to monitor the temperature-dependent properties of foods, e.g., spectroscopic (NMR
NMR may refer to:Applications of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance:* Nuclear magnetic resonance* NMR spectroscopy* Solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance* Protein nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy* Proton NMR* Carbon-13 NMR...

, UV-visible, IR spectroscopy, fluorescence
Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation of a different wavelength. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation...

), scattering (light
Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation that is visible to the human eye, and is responsible for the sense of sight. Visible light has wavelength in a range from about 380 nanometres to about 740 nm, with a frequency range of about 405 THz to 790 THz...

, X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

s, neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

s), physical (mass, density, rheology
Rheology is the study of the flow of matter, primarily in the liquid state, but also as 'soft solids' or solids under conditions in which they respond with plastic flow rather than deforming elastically in response to an applied force....

, heat capacity
Heat capacity
Heat capacity , or thermal capacity, is the measurable physical quantity that characterizes the amount of heat required to change a substance's temperature by a given amount...

) etc. Nevertheless, at present the term thermal analysis is usually reserved for a narrow range of techniques that measure changes in the physical properties of foods with temperature (TG/DTG, DTA,DSC and Transition temperature).

Thermal Analysis of Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)

Power dissipation is an important issue in present-day PCB design. Power dissipation will result in temperature difference and pose a thermal problem to a chip. In addition to the issue of reliability, excess heat will also negatively affect electrical performance and safety. The working temperature of an IC should therefore be kept below the maximum allowable limit of the worst case. In general, the temperatures of junction and ambient are 125 °C and 55 °C, respectively.
The ever-shrinking chip size causes the heat to concentrate within a small area and leads to high power density. Furthermore, denser transistors gathering in a monolithic chip and higher operating frequency cause a worsening of the power dissipation. Removing the heat effectively becomes the critical issue to be resolved.

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