// Thermal Analysis Labs June 11, 2021

Determining the heat capacity of a sample by Micro Differential Scanning Calorimetry

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis method that monitors the heat absorbed or released from a sample as a function of temperature. The data collected can be used to measure heat capacity, heat of melting/crystallization, and glass transition, etc. As the temperature changes, this allows different transitions of the material such as denaturation, transitions, and reaction. DSC method has been used since mid-20th century and have been commonly used in many industries such as pharmaceuticals, polymers, and food etc.

Although DSC has many applications, DSC can be a destructive analysis, some would prefer to preserve the sample material or at least utilize micro-samples, that is when micro differential scanning calorimetry (μDSC) comes in (sometimes called 3D Calorimetry or Tian-Calvet calorimetry). This allows us to work with small amounts of the sample without deconstructing the sample structure.  

Like DSC, μDSC also performs the same operation as mentioned before. Hence, offering an alternative of a smaller sample while obtaining thermal information. At our laboratory, our Micro DSC measurements was acquired from SETARAM Micro-DSC VII calorimeter. Our μDSC can be used for small quantities of sample, but it is applicable for large volumes of samples that have low density properties. It could also used to measure the small amounts of heat effects of the sample.

Figure 1: SETARAM Micro-DSC VII

In a paper published at Heritage Science, micro differential scanning calorimetry and micro hot table method for quantifying deterioration of historical leather, they were using μDSC to determine thermal   properties with items from nineteenth century. The mass of the sample used was 2mg, the sample has been heated in water to detect hydrothermal stability at a rate of 2°C per minute which complies with the standard test method of ASTM D6076-18. After collecting the data, they have grouped the historic leather in three domains: “leather-like”, “parchment-like” and “gelatine-like” [2]. A SETARAM Micro-DSC III was used to determine the heat capacity. Results from their work can be seen below.

Figure 2: Heat capacities of historical leather [1]

The data above demonstrates the capabilities of μDSC can offer. It measures the heat effects of the micro-materials of historical leather and provides accurate results [1]. Therefore, μDSC provides accurate thermal analysis while having small sample requirements. It also minimizes the sample material from being destroy.

Thermal Analysis Labs offers wide range of thermal analysis. For more information on our testing services, please visit: https://ctherm.com/thermal-analysis-labs/ or contact us directly at info@thermalanalysislabs.com

[1] E. B. Cristina Carsote, “Heritage Science,” 2019.

[2] G. D. G. T. U. Elena Badea, “Scicene Direct,” 20 November 2011.

Written by Jason Ho, Laboratory Intern 


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