or thermal gravimetric analysis
) is a type of testing performed on samples that determines changes in weight
In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force on the object due to gravity. Its magnitude , often denoted by an italic letter W, is the product of the mass m of the object and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration g; thus:...
in relation to change in temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...
. Such analysis relies on a high degree of precision
In the fields of science, engineering, industry and statistics, the accuracy of a measurement system is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to that quantity's actual value. The precision of a measurement system, also called reproducibility or repeatability, is the degree to which...
in three measurements: weight, temperature, and temperature change. As many weight loss curves look similar, the weight loss curve may require transformation before results may be interpreted. A derivative weight loss curve can identify the point where weight loss is most apparent. Again, interpretation is limited without further modifications and deconvolution of the overlapping peaks may be required.
To determine composition and purity one must take the mass of the substance in the mixture by using thermal gravimetric analysis. Thermal gravimetric analysis is the act of heating a mixture to a high enough temperature so that one of the components decomposes into a gas, which dissociates into the air. It is a process that utilizes heat and stoichiometry ratios to determine the percent by mass ration of a solute. If the compounds in the mixture that remain are known, then the percentage by mass can be determined by taking the weight of what is left in the mixture and dividing it by the initial mass. Knowing the mass of the original mixture and the total mass of impurities liberating upon heating, the stoichiometric ratio can be used to calculate the percent mass of the substance in a sample.
TGA is commonly employed in research and testing to determine characteristics of materials such as polymers, to determine degradation temperatures, absorbed moisture content of materials, the level of inorganic and organic components in materials, decomposition points of explosives, and solvent
A solvent is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another solid, liquid, or gaseous solute, resulting in a solution that is soluble in a certain volume of solvent at a specified temperature...
residues. It is also often used to estimate the corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...
Chemical kinetics, also known as reaction kinetics, is the study of rates of chemical processes. Chemical kinetics includes investigations of how different experimental conditions can influence the speed of a chemical reaction and yield information about the reaction's mechanism and transition...
in high temperature oxidation.
Simultaneous TGA-DTA/DSC measures both heat flow and weight changes (TGA) in a material as a function of temperature or time in a controlled atmosphere. Simultaneous measurement of these two material properties not only improves productivity but also simplifies interpretation of the results. The complementary information obtained allows differentiation between endothermic and exothermic events with no associated weight loss (e.g. melting and crystallization) and those that involve a weight loss (e.g. degradation).
The analyzer usually consists of a high-precision balance with a pan (generally platinum) loaded with the sample. A different process using a quartz crystal microbalance has been devised for measuring smaller samples on the order of a microgram (versus milligram with conventional TGA). The sample is placed in a small electrically heated oven with a thermocouple
A thermocouple is a device consisting of two different conductors that produce a voltage proportional to a temperature difference between either end of the pair of conductors. Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor for measurement and control and can also be used to convert a...
to accurately measure the temperature. The atmosphere may be purged with an inert gas
An inert gas is a non-reactive gas used during chemical synthesis, chemical analysis, or preservation of reactive materials. Inert gases are selected for specific settings for which they are functionally inert since the cost of the gas and the cost of purifying the gas are usually a consideration...
to prevent oxidation or other undesired reactions. A computer is used to control the instrument.
TGA is a process that utilizes heat and stoichiometry ratios to determine the percent by mass of a solute. Analysis is carried out by raising the temperature of the sample gradually and plotting weight (percentage) against temperature. The temperature in many testing methods routinely reaches 1000°C or greater. After the data are obtained, curve smoothing
In statistics and image processing, to smooth a data set is to create an approximating function that attempts to capture important patterns in the data, while leaving out noise or other fine-scale structures/rapid phenomena. Many different algorithms are used in smoothing...
and other operations may be done to find the exact points of inflection.
A method known as hi-resolution TGA is often employed to obtain greater accuracy in areas where the derivative curve peaks. In this method, temperature increase slows as weight loss increases. This is to more accurately identify the exact temperature where a peak occurs. Several modern TGA devices can vent burnoff to an infrared spectrophotometer to analyze composition.