Ceramic Industry

What's New in Thermal Analysis?

September 18, 2000
As part of this month's Thermal Analysis Section, CI surveyed suppliers of thermal analysis equipment to discover the latest and greatest advances on the market.

Programmable Force Actuators

ACS Consulting Corp. has developed two force-actuator configurations to retrofit push rod dilatometers and enable them to sinter under uniaxial programmable loads. The basic model, which consists of a programmable pressure regulator and a pneumatic actuator, can be applied to dilatometer measuring heads operating in ambient air. The advanced model, which includes a load cell to measure and control the load in a closed feedback loop, can be used in measuring heads operating in a controlled atmosphere. An effective load from 0.01 to 37 pounds-the force typically applied to samples of 0.125 to 0.250 in. in diameter-can be programmed throughout the experiment.

Thermal Diffusivity System

Anter Corp. has developed a lower-cost thermal diffusivity instrument that can dramatically speed up the testing time for refractories and extend the range to include higher conductivity materials. The FlashLineT-3000 thermal diffusivity system also measures specific heat capacity very accurately because of its unique dual sample capability, the company reports. Thermal conductivity can be determined by entering density data. Metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, and carbons can be tested up to 1200°C. The company will be demonstrating the new instrument at booth #1068 at the Materials Show, October 10-12 in St. Louis.

Rheological Characterization System

ATS Rheosystems' DYNALYSER is a modular research-level rheometer system designed specifically to address the challenging and diverse testing needs and requirements of the serious rheologist. The instrument's capability and performance is the direct result of a design and development effort focused exclusively on input and recommendations from rheometer users. The instrument is designed for testing any rheologically significant material, including thermoplastics, thermosets, elastomers, semi-solids and/or fluids.

Automatic Elongation Monitoring

Model SP-1A-DAS from the Orton Ceramic Foundation has been designed to automatically monitor the elongation of a sample fiber and calculate the Littleton softening point according to the ASTM C338 method. This system comprises the ASTM specified furnace, a PID controller to assure the specified thermal cycle, a measuring system to monitor the fiber's elongation and a computer system for display and analysis. The software calculates the elongation rate as a function of time and selects the temperature at which the elongation is 1.0 mm per minute.

Portable Thermal Analysis

The new SETline300 from SETARAM provides a solution for manufacturers that need to control material behavior at the production, processing and/or transportation levels. Like traditional differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) instruments, the new analyzer measures transformation, transition and reaction temperatures, as well as enthalpies of samples subjected to a thermal cycle. However, the new analyzer is also portable and autonomous, enabling it to be used either in the laboratory or on industrial sites. A Peltier-effect element fixed on the measurement vessel provides the ability to study samples during both heating and cooling. The analyzer covers a range of temperatures from ambient to 300°C.

Simultaneous DSC-TGA

TA Instruments' SDT 2960 combines two thermal analysis measurements-heat flow (DSC) and weight changes (thermogravimetric analysis, or TGA)-in a single instrument. The instrument features a temperature range of ambient to 1500°C, quantitative DSC heat flow, high TGA sensitivity (0.1 mg), and high baseline performance. The system's operating and data analysis software provides dynamic normalization, where the DSC signal is calculated using the instantaneous sample weight (TGA signal) rather than the original mass. Additionally, the picture-in-a-picture function allows large and small signals to be directly inspected and custom reports to be generated totally within the thermal software, eliminating the need to "cut and paste" data to external report writing software.