DIFFERENTIAL SCANNING CALORIMETRY (DSC)
Differential Scanning Calorimetry, or DSC, is a thermal analysis technique that looks at how a material’s heat capacity (Cp) is changed by temperature. A sample of known mass is heated or cooled and the changes in its heat capacity are tracked as changes in the heat flow. This allows the detection of transitions such as melts, glass transitions, phase changes, and curing. Because of this flexibility, since most materials exhibit some sort of transitions, DSC is used in many industries, including pharmaceuticals, polymers, food, paper, printing, manufacturing, agriculture, semiconductors, and electronics.
The biggest advantage of DSC is the ease and speed with which it can be used to see transitions in materials. If you work with polymeric materials of any type, the glass transition is important to understanding your material. In liquid crystals, metals, pharmaceuticals, and pure organics, you can see phase changes or polymorphs and study the degree of purity in materials. If you are processing or distilling materials, knowledge of a material’s heat capacity and heat content change (enthalpy) can be used to estimate how efficiently your process is operating. For these reasons, DSC is the most common thermal analysis technique and is found in many analytical, process control, quality assurance, and R&D laboratories.