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Introduction and Principles of TGA

Thermal Gravimetric Analysis TGA is a method of thermal analysis achieved by increasing the temperature of a sample over time whilst plotting weight against temperature so effectively monitors material transformation where compounds degrade or form at different temperatures or compounds evaporate.

The laboratory’s TGA, which is a TA Instruments TGA2050, can be used to ramp temperatures between room temperature and 1000degC in different gas atmospheres such as air, nitrogen or inert gases.

TGA InstrumentTGA analysis is employed in research, product development, failure analysis and testing to characterise materials such as inorganic compounds, monomers, polymers, rubbers , petrochemicals or organic compounds, breakdown products, to determine:-

The Thermogravimetric Analyser (TGA) is an essential laboratory tool used for material characterisation. TGA is used as a technique to characterise materials used in various environmental, pharmaceutical, polymers, GFRP and CFRP composite materials and petrochemical applications and is a powerful technique when used alongside other chemicals and materials analytical techniques such as DSCFTIR, pyrolysis GC-MS, Headspace GC-MS and SEM/EDX on plastics and paint coatings for example.

Thermal Gravimetric Analysis Applications include:-

  • Quality Assurance / Quality Control to ensure products meet their material specifications.
  • Using TGA to ensure product safety.
  • Determination of carbon content of a material or compound.
  • Identify safe operating temperatures in various gases.
  • Enhance product formulation processes.
  • Determination of kinetic parameters, Arrhenius activation energy and pre-exponential factor of materials that obey first order kinetics.
TGA Plot Intepretation and Optimum Degradation Temperature - ODT

Interpretation of typical TGA and ODT plots showing degradation onset temperatures and mass loss. 

TGA Polymer Lifetime Prediction

Estimation of polymer thermal lifetime by TGA decomposition kinetics using Arrhenius model plots. Polymers degrade over time limiting useful life. Knowing how long a material will last from predictions is important for safe design and planning maintenance.

Plastics TGA Methods include:-

The laboratory's TGA expert is Danie Els.

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