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Thermal Stability - Thermal Analysis Applications

Posted by AnnMarie Fauske on 06.26.18

Internet searches of "thermal analysis applications" will yield plenty of definitions regarding heat reactions involving nearly every industry, most notably food, pharma, and cosmetics - any industry where transportation, storage, preparation and especially consumption processes take place. Thermal Analysis includes all methods measuring some parameter during the heating of a sample. But, often material safety data sheets refer to Thermal Stability as an intrinsic property of a substance or mixture.  In fact, this is an oversimplification of a concept that must be defined in a more comprehensive way. 

DSC Test Cell LoadingThermal stability testing aims at collecting reaction rate data and applying that data to assess whether a specified quantity of material can be used in a way such that runaway reactions are avoided.  This is important when considering processing, long-term storage, or shipping of a material.

A variety of instruments and tools can be used to characterize the thermal stability of a material:

  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) - measures the heat flow to or from a sample under controlled heating conditions. 
  • Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) - measures the change in mass of a sample under controlled heating conditions.
  • Accelerating Rate Calorimetry (ARC) -  a high thermal inertia adiabatic calorimeter that is used to obtain data regarding the relationships between time, temperature, and pressure for exothermic reactions. 
  • Thermal Activity Monitor (TAM) - an isothermal microcalorimeter designed to monitor a wide range of chemical and biological reactions quantifying exothermic and endothermic processes.  
  • AKTS-Thermokinetics Software - Critical process safety and thermal stability parameters (TMRad, SADT, etc.) can be determined quickly and reliably from a modest amount of calorimetry data by using AKTS-Thermokinetics software
  • Advanced Reactive Systems Screening Tool (ARSST) - is a low thermal inertia calorimeter used to obtain critical upset process design data.
  • Vent Sizing Package 2 (VSP2) -  a low thermal inertia adiabatic calorimeter used for process hazard characterization that utilizes state-of-the-art DIERS technology to obtain critical upset process design data.
  • C80 manufactured by Setaram -  a reaction, thermal and scanning calorimeter that operates like a larger version of a DSC which accommodates a larger sample size and bigger test cells.

These tools can provide accurate determination of safety parameters such as:

  • Onset Temperature
  • Kinetic Parameters
  • Time to Maximum Rate
  • Critical Temperature / Temperature of No Return
  • Self Accelerating Decomposition Temperature

TAM photo.Your staff can be trained in the understanding of technical issues related to thermal stability, process safety programs or audits and regulations.  A state of the art testing lab can perform process safety audits as part of a comprehensive hazards analysis and can work with you to make sure your staff is supplied with training needs in many ways including: 

Level I - Gap Analysis
Level II - Training & Consulting
Level III - Program Development and Implementation

Partial List of Services Available:
• Reviews and upgrades of all your safety process systems and regulatory requirements
• VPP Consulting
• Audits, reviews, and upgrades of all your Operating, Safety, and Maintenance Procedures
• Training program evaluations for both completeness and effectiveness (from technical skills to professional development) and upgrades where neededARC Test Cells copy
• Reviews and upgrades of your program elements such as Employee Participation and Process Safety Information for effectiveness and completeness
• Work process effectiveness evaluations and upgrades
• Overall organizational development (e.g., motivation, work processes)
• Stress reduction
• Evaluations of the effectiveness of communication

Look for a testing lab that can also design, custom develop and deliver any site specific training materials needed by your organization. Our consultants, engineers and technical specialists are available to deliver the testing, classroom, lab or on-the-job training your staff needs. In addition, we will assist with the identification and procurement of commercially available training materials where available. Contact us at 630-323-8750,

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Topics: thermal stability, Process Safety Managment, thermal hazard, testing


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