Thermal Analysis


Thermal analysis is the application of a precision controlled temperature program that allows quantification of a change in a material’s properties with change in temperature.

History of Thermal Analysis

Thermal analysis was first introduced by Le Chatelier in 1887. During the same period, another scientist, Tammann, also did similar thermoanalytical work. A more advanced thermal technique, differential thermal analysis, was discovered by 1899. This technique involves measuring the temperature difference between the sample and a reference material (a thermally inert material). The measurement of mass change using temperature thermogravimetry (TG) was discovered by Honda, a physicist from Japan. The use of thermal analysis for kinetic purposes was invented by the Japanese electrical engineers, Kujirai and Akahira. During those days, automatic techniques for thermal analysis were still unknown. Normally two persons were required for carrying out experiments (i.e., watching the meters, recording the data, and controlling the temperature) for a long time without intermission, so thermal analysis was tedious and hard work that required patience. Soon after World War II ended, Japanese scientists developed thermo analytical instruments that controlled and recorded the experiments automatically.

At the beginning of the 1960s, automated thermo balances and power-compensated differential scanning calorimetry (PC-DSC) were also commercialized. The automation led to a flourishing period of thermal analysis in the 1960s and 1970s. The First International Conference on Thermal Analysis was held in 1965 at Aberdeen, Scotland.

Thermal properties

Thermal analysis is a branch of material science for studying the thermo physical and kinetic properties of materials with temperature. Thermal properties can be measured as function of temperature or time over a wide temperature range from − 150°C to 1600°C. Thermal analysis is widely used to study the thermal stability, char content, and decomposition temperature of polymer composites reinforced with natural/synthetic fibers/or Nano sized fillers. Several thermal analysis techniques are commonly used to investigate thermal properties of material including ply boards, polymer, polymer composites, metallic composites, films, cement-based composites, and even rubber-based composites.



Angelina Matthew,

Managing Editor,

Pharmaceutical Analytical Chemistry

Email id: