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DSC anaysis

The GWP Plastics Laboratory offers DSC analysis for plastics analysis among other methods. Differential Scanning Calorymetry (DSC) is one of the most frequently used methods of thermal analysis due to its versatility and the high significance of the results.

Application of Differential Scanning Calorymetry

DSC analysis can be used to investigate a wide range of materials such as polymers, resins, composites or other organic materials. Heat flow differences between a sample and a reference sample are measured during a controlled temperature-time programme. Valuable information for research and quality control of polymers can be obtained from these data.
Typical applications of DSC include, for example, the investigation of morphological structures, the differentiation of plastic types, the detection of batch differences in moulding compounds, the investigation of the influence of processing conditions on material quality, effects of additives, ageing influences, decomposition effects, damage analyses and purity determinations.

How DSC analysis works

In dynamic differential calorimetry, the amount of heat released or absorbed by a sample is determined during constant heating or cooling. In an encapsulated crucible a) the sample to be analysed and in a second crucible b) a reference (empty crucible) are heated and then cooled.
During temperature control, exothermic or endothermic processes or phase changes such as melting or evaporation occur in the sample.  The temperature changes ΔT compared to the empty sample (reference) are determined and can be assigned to a material via databases.

Laboratory equipment: Dynamic differential calorimeter in the GWP plastics laboratory

In our modern, well-equipped analytical laboratory, we use equipment from market leaders.

Model 1: DSC 204 F1 Phoenix®
Manufacturer: NETZSCH-Gerätebau GmbH

Model 2: DSC 200 F3 Maia®
Manufacturer: NETZSCH-Gerätebau GmbH

Our Differential Scanning Calorimeters are suitable for: Determination of melt crystallisation, polymorphism, phase diagrams, eutectic purity, crystallinity of semi-crystalline materials, solid-liquid behaviour, solid-solid transformations, specific heat capacity, glass transformation, , cross-linking reactions, onset of decomposition, oxidation stability, material identification.

Our services for DSC analysis

We offer DSC analyses for series monitoring, quality assurance, development and failure analysis. Some methods are carried out according to accredited procedures.

Determination of the melting temperature

Partially crystalline plastics have small crystallites in which the chains are highly ordered in relation to each other. At a correspondingly high temperature, these domains melt. This melting process is an enthalpic process for which the corresponding melting enthalpy must be applied. This is expressed in the DSC curve by a peak at a characteristic temperature.

Determination of the glass transition temperature

Amorphous and semi-crystalline plastics have a transition temperature above which the chains become mobile in relation to each other. This is the so-called glass transition temperature. The mobility of the chains increases the heat capacity of the plastic, which is expressed by a step in the DSC curve. The glass transition temperature is polymer-specific and allows a characterisation of the plastic.

Determination of the enthalpy of fusion and the degree of crystallisation

In addition to the melting temperature, the polymer-specific enthalpy of fusion can be determined by integrating the peak areas in the DSC curve. By comparison with literature data, the degree of crystallisation in the plastic can be determined.

Determination of the enthalpy of crystallisation

The crystallisation temperature and enthalpy are determined from the DSC cooling curve. When the crystallisation temperature is undershot, the chains form highly ordered domains. This process is opposite to the melting process and exothermic. This released energy is recorded by the DSC.

Determination of the degree of cure and the reaction enthalpies

Plastics that are not fully cured can also be analysed using DSC. The exothermic processes to be investigated are initiated at elevated temperature and the heat of reaction released is determined. This allows statements to be made about the conversion, the required reaction temperature and the enthalpy of reaction.

Accredited methods DSC

In the field of DSC analysis, the GWP analysis laboratory is accredited for the following procedures:


Kunststoffe-DSC Teil 2 Bestimmung der
Glasübergangstemperaturen und der
GWP AV 262 Thermische Analyse mittels DSC 204 Phoenix F1
DIN 53765Prüfung von Kunststoffen und Elastomeren -
Thermische Analyse - Dynamische
Differenzkalorimetrie (DDK)
Kunststoffe-DSC Teil 3 Bestimmung der
Schmelz und Kristallisationstemperatur und
der Schmelz und Kristallistionsthalpie
5029 DIN EN ISO 11357-5 Kunststoffe
Dynamische Differenz Bestimmung von
charakteristischen Reaktionstemperaturen
und -zeiten, Reaktionsenthalpie und Umsatz

Society for Materials Testing
Ensuring quality | Accompanying development | Analyzing damage | Passing on knowledge

GWP Gesellschaft für Werkstoffprüfung mbH
Georg-Wimmer-Ring 25
85604 Zorneding/München

Tel. +49 8106 994110
Fax +49 8106 994111

Handelsregister München
HRB 53245
USt.-IdNr. DE131179893

General Manager
Dr. Julius Nickl