Thermal Analysis

Specifications and descriptions of our thermal analysis equipment can be found below, including typical applications.

Links to external resources and further information can be found on the 'Resources' page.

PerkinElmer Pyris 1 TGA

Our Pyris 1 Thermogravimetric Analyser (TGA) allows the measurement of weight change as a function of time or temperature, in order to obtain knowledge about the thermal stability or composition of your material. The instrument operates from room temperature to 1000°C, usually at a standard heating rate of 10°C/min (it is possible to scan at different rates). Complex programs, with changes in scanning rate, isothermal steps and purge gas changes can easily be set up. An external gas switch (TAGS box) allows sample purge gases to be changed during experimentation. This is useful, for example, in oxidation studies where a precise switch from an inert to an oxidising environment is needed. A 20 position auto-sampler allows the measurement of a large number of samples and is particularly useful for running samples overnight.


  • Water or volatile analysis
  • Compositional analysis
  • Carbon content
  • Polymer composition
  • Decomposition temperature
  • Thermal stability


Temperature range RT to 1000°C
Scanning rates 0.1 to 200°C/min
Precision +/- 2°C
Balance tare +/- 2μg
Sensitivity 0.1μg
Balance accuracy >0.02%
Balance precision 0.001%
Purge gases Ar, N2, O2, air

TA Instruments Q600 SDT

Our Simultaneous Thermal Analyser (STA) allows the concurrent measurement of both mass change (TGA) and heat flux (DTA/DSC). The instrument has a measurement range of RT - 1500°C with a normal heating rate of 10°C/min (other heating rates can be used). The advantage of using an STA system is that both energy changes and mass changes are directly comparable, making data analysis more straightforward and reducing run times on other instruments.  Both inert and oxidising sample purge environments are available for this instrument and either alumina or platinum sample pans can be used.


  • Compositional analysis
  • Identification of thermal events (Tg, crystallisation, melting)
  • Phase changes
  • Measurement of volatiles
  • Degradation studies
  • Oxidative stability
  • Thermal stability


Temperature range: RT - 1500°C
Scanning rates

0.1 to 100°C/min (RT to 1000°C)

0.1 to 25°C/min (1000 to 1500°C)

Temperature precision

+/- 0.5°C (RT to 1000°C)

+/- 1.0°C (1000 to 1500°C)

Calorimetric accuracy +/- 5%
Balance sensitivity 0.2μg
Balance precision +/- 0.2%
Purge gases Nitrogen or air

PerkinElmer DSC6

Our Differential Scanning Calorimeters allow a range of transformations to be identified by measuring heat flow. The instruments measure the energy difference between a sample and a reference material as a function of time or temperature when both are subjected to a controlled temperature program.  Both the sample and reference are maintained at the same temperature and the power input needed to this, related to heat flow. DSC is an important technique for looking at phase and enthalpy changes. Our DSC6 has a maximum temperature of 445°C.


  • Tg, Tc, Tm determination
  • Purity investigations
  • Thermal stability
  • Degree of cure
  • Study of reactions/state changes


Temperature range RT to 445°C
Heating/cooling rate 0.1 to 100°C/min
Temperature accuracy +/- 0.2°C
Temperature precision +/- 0.1°C
Calorimetry accuracy +/- 2%
Calorimetry precision +/- 1%
Calorimetry sensitivity 2μW

PerkinElmer Diamond DSC

Our Diamond DSC system allows heat flow determination between -90°C (via the use of an Intracooler III system) and 600°C. Sub-ambient temperatures are particularly amenable to the thermal studies of polymers. The diamond system also allows fast heating rates, so-called 'hyper-DSC' with rates up to 500°C/min (in helium), therefore allowing kinetic studies.


  • Tg, Tc, Tm determination
  • Purity investigations
  • Specific heat
  • Degree of cure
  • Study of reactions/state changes
  • Kinetic studies


Temperature range -90 to 600°C (with intra-cooler)
Heating/cooling rate Up to 500°C/min
Temperature accuracy +/- 0.1°C
Temperature precision +/- 0.01°C
Calorimetry accuracy <1%
Calorimetry precision <0.1%
Calorimetry sensitivity 0.2μW

PerkinElmer Diamond TMA

Our Thermomechanical Analyser (TMA) will measure changes in dimension of your material (such as expansion or contraction) as a function of time, temperature and force applied to the sample. Measuring the coefficient of linear thermal expansion (CTE) is a common use of TMA.

The broad force range of the Diamond TMA permits a wide range of samples to be analysed, from single fibres to stiff composites. We have probes available for expansion, penetration, bending and tension studies. The system has a maximum temperature of 550°C and heating is usually carried out at a heating rate of 5°C/min. The furnace can be cooled using liquid nitrogen allowing sub-ambient measurements.


  • Expansion coefficients
  • Glass transition temperature
  • Softening
  • Shrinking
  • Creep
  • Stress-strain


Temperature range RT to 550°C (-150°C with liquid N2)
Heating rate 0.01 to 100°C
Force range 0.01mN to 5.8N
Displacement resolution 0.02μm
Load sensitivity 0.01mN
Purge gas Inert or air
Max sample size 10mm dia x 25mm

Top in the Russell Group

We are the top-ranked Russell Group university for Graduate Prospects in Materials Science and Engineering. (The Times Good University Guide 2020)

Weekly online events

Attend an online event when it suits you, all year round, as an alternative to an open day.

Every Wednesday, Sheffield Live sessions cover different aspects of University life. You can also meet your department and learn more about studying your subject.