DSC (dynamic differential thermal analysis) is used to investigate the behaviour of the plastic system, of plastics or fibre composites, under thermal stress.
According to standard-compliant procedures (DIN EN ISO 11357), the sample is subjected to a temperature programme, passing through a defined temperature range at a defined speed (e.g. -40°C to 350 °C at 10 K/min). During this process, the heat exchange between the sample and the environment is measured and compared with a known reference. In this way, not only characteristic temperatures of the material associated with processes such as glass transition, melting, decomposition or chemical reactions (e.g. curing) can be measured. The enthalpies associated with these processes can also be determined. If the temperature programme is chosen appropriately, valuable information can also be obtained about the processing conditions and thermal preload of the plastic system.
Findings from DSC investigations can be extended by thermogravimetry (TGA) and pyrolysis GC/MS and supplemented by IR analysis (vibrational spectroscopic investigation).