Differential Scanning Calorimeter

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis technique used to measure temperature and heat flow associated with important transitions in materials as a function of time or temperature. These measurements provide quantitative and qualitative information about physical and chemical changes that involve exothermic and endothermic processes, or changes in heat capacity. The DSC instrument works by measuring the temperature amount of heat added or extracted from a sample, in comparison to a known reference, to produce a ‘thermogram’ curve.

In a DSC, the difference in heat flow to the sample and a reference at the same temperature, is recorded as a function of temperature or time. Using thermal analysis, it is possible to understand what is happening in a material during heating, even if there is no visual evidence that a change has occurred. Some measurements that can be made with the DSC are:

Glass transition temperature

Melting point

Crystallisation time and temperature

Latent heat of melting

Latent heat of crystallization

Endothermic and exothermic natures of transitions

Degree of crystallinity

Phase changes

Specific heat capacity

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