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Correlation between nanoscale and bulk Thermal Analysis
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Anasys Instruments Corp

Thermal methods such as differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and modulated temperature DSC (MDSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), thermomechanical analysis (TMA), and dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) are well-established techniques for characterizing the morphology and composition of polymers. It is often possible to identify and quantify materials by reference to their characteristic transition temperatures and thermal stability. However, a serious limitation of conventional thermal methods is that they give only a sample-averaged response and cannot provide information on specific features on or within the sample. A DSC measurement, for example, may indicate the presence of more than one phase, but the technique cannot generally give any information regarding the size or distribution of phases. This particularly impacts scientists in the field of polymer blends (where the blend morphologies are crucial to determining their material properties), coatings (where imperfections such as gel formations can seriously impact performance), and composites.

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