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 throughout the experiment. In general, the temperature programme for a DSC analysis is designed such that the sample holder temperature increases linearly as a function of time.

If a material is heated a chemical of physical reaction can occur which is linked to absorption or release of heat. DSC equipment is able to measure this energy changes.

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Testing procedure

A small sample (± 5mg) is put in an aluminium container which is then heated at a constant speed (eg. 10°C/min). The energy needed for this process is constantly measured. In case of chemical or physical reactions, a certain amount of energy will be absorbed or released. This leads to a distortion of the base line of the thermogram. The distortion is typical for the process.

Testing applications

Determination of:

  • Glass transitions
  • Melt and Crystallisation temperatures
  • Thermal and oxidative stability
  • Cross linking degree and other
  • Small crystalline impurities in the material
  • Similarities between materials


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