The Use Of DSC Testing For Polymers And Plastics

There are many different testing operations possible for polymers and plastics. A test that is very commonly required for many different types of these materials is Differential Scanning Calorimetry or DSC.

The use of DSC testing provides a range of different information for manufacturers and companies using polymers in manufacturing parts or components. This includes the testing of plastics as well as elastomers. It is most commonly used to determine curing of polymers and plastics as well as to assess polymer degradation.

The Basics

This test is completed through heating the sample material and recording the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of the sample to a specific level.

The sample material and the test material are carefully controlled to ensure the same temperature is maintained between both. This allows a comparison as the sample goes through phase changes, which are physical transformations, in comparison to the known sample material.

With DSC testing the heat used to create a phase change, such as from solid to a liquid is measured in terms of the amount of heat required. The DSC equipment is able to detect with the necessary precision the different phase transitions and the flow of heat to the sample and the test material.

The Importance of the Test

There are several different reasons to complete DSC testing on any polymer, elastomer or plastic. It is instrumental in determining the crystallization of the material and in identifying the precise temperatures at which the material undergoes thermal transitions.

Unknown samples can also be determined in relation to known materials with regards to the behavior of the sample. However, this cannot be used in isolation to determine the specific composition of the unknown sample. It can be used as a part of the process for this type of identification and analysis.

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