Editorial Feature

Differential Scanning Calorimetry in Nanocomposite Analysis

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analyses method for determining how much energy a sample absorbs or emits as heat capacity. The phase diagram, entropy, enthalpy, and thermal capacity may all be determined with DSC equipment.

Differential Scanning Calorimetry in Nanocomposite Analysis

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Nanocomposites are fast expanding as a diverse research study in materials science, with breakthroughs that potentially widen nanocomposites' applicability to various sectors. DSC is a valuable method for investigating a broad range of polymer characteristics, and it may also be used to explore the structure of nanocomposites.

Many processes that occur during a thermal scanning of nanoparticles and nanocomposites, including melting, precipitation, curing mechanisms, and phase changes, can be studied using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). When dispersing at the nanoscale is attained, these characteristics undergo a distinctive shift.

What is Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)?

DSC is a thermal analysis technique that determines how much heat flows into or out of a specimen as a function of time and temperature. It may also be used to evaluate material properties, including inertness, melting temperature, and thermal properties.

DSC investigation may be used to examine physical, chemical, and other materials. The heat transfer rate is also measured by DSC and compared to known reference materials. It determines the content, crystallinity, and degradation of the substance.

A typical DSC test involves heating the specimen at a steady rate to characterize phase changes or curing mechanisms as a function of time and temperature.

Need of DSC in Nanocomposites

X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electronic microscopy (TEM), rheological spectroscopy, and actual contact studies are often used to assess the effectiveness of polymer phase separation in nanocomposites.

Although wide-angle XRD provides a practical tool for determining the interfacial distance of the layers in interstitial nanocomposites, nothing is known regarding their distribution pattern or compositional non-homogeneities. Due to the tiny investigable region, TEM is time-consuming and only provides qualitative information about the sample overall.

The differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) can be effectively used to investigate a variety of essential nanocomposites processes.

Nanocomposites' melting and crystallization behavior is critical since it determines their thermal characteristics, impact strength, and shear stress characteristics. Identifying the melting mechanism is important not only for tailoring the characteristics of nanocomposites but also for comprehending the nature of the component interactions. DSC is a useful tool for studying the melting and crystallization behavior of nanocomposites.

Current Research Concerning DSC in Nanocomposites

Differential Scanning Calorimetry of Wood polymer nanocomposites

Rahman et al. (2017) examined the thermal properties of clay disseminated Styrene-co-Glycidol Copolymers infused wood polymer nanocomposite (WPNC) with his research group. The effectiveness of thermal properties and decomposition enthalpy of WPNC were evaluated using DSC by the researchers.

Various techniques have been devised to assess the efficiency of treated wood's thermal properties. Differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetry are two basic techniques for testing decomposition and combustion retardants in the presence of air or inert gas.

Researchers used DSC analysis to evaluate how much thermal energy was emitted or absorbed during pyrolysis of the wood polymer nanocomposites components, which resulted in endothermic and exothermic processes.

DSC Analysis to Investigate the Influence of Nanofillers on CBT Polymerization

Greco et al. (2009) employed differential scanning calorimetry to investigate the thermal properties of the products formed during the ring-opening synthesis of cyclic butylene-based nanocomposites.

DSC analysis was used to explore the influence of nanofillers on CBT polymerization. The inclusion of the nanofiller had a substantial impact on the polymerization of CBT, causing the polymerization processes to start at elevated temperatures.

Advantages of DSC in Analysis of Nanocomposites

DSC provides several advantages over other approaches for analyzing nanocomposites. In most cases, just a minimal amount of specimen preparation (i.e., concentration) is necessary to conduct the analysis. DSC may be used in manufacturing to determine batch-to-batch consistency.

Commercial devices are available, and the results are generally simple to comprehend. This method can be used in the lab to test the homogeneity and composition of nanocomposites with little sample preparation. DSC analysis may also be used to detect nanoparticle interaction in ecological processes like water or biological media. The content and interaction kinetics of nanoparticle systems, such as nanocomposites, can be used to define them.

Innovation in DSC technique for Nanocomposites

The accuracy of DSC analysis for nanocomposite systems could be improved. Increased sensitivity and enhanced monitoring of the interactions between nanomaterials and their matrix can be attained. Nanocomposite analysis is now possible using the small-scaled nano-calorimetry technique.

Nano-calorimetry uses a precision of less than five nW to track transition temperature. In biomedicine, it is possible to investigate as-produced specimens, environmental factors, and nanocomposites' interrelations.

Thermoanalytical temperature, energy, and volume measurements must be precise. Small-scale connections, unlike large-scale devices, are difficult to detect. The size-dependent thermodynamics and kinetics of nanocomposite interactions and particle nucleation are now well understood. The next series of nano-calorimeters will include an aqueous analysis of the environment and femtowatt measurements.

Thermal Analysis; A Useful Tool for Nanocomposite Analysis.

References and Further Reading

Koshy, O., Subramanian, L., & Thomas, S. (2017). Differential scanning calorimetry in nanoscience and nanotechnology. In Thermal and Rheological Measurement Techniques for Nanomaterials Characterization (pp. 109-122). www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323461399000050

Rahman, M. R., Hamdan, S., & Hui, J. L. C. (2017). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) of wood polymer nanocomposites. In MATEC web of conferences (Vol. 87, p. 03013). EDP Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1051/matecconf/20178703013

Lanciano, G., Greco, A., Maffezzoli, A., & Mascia, L. (2009). Effects of thermal history in the ring opening polymerization of CBT and its mixtures with montmorillonite on the crystallization of the resulting poly (butylene terephthalate). Thermochimica Acta493(1-2), 61-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tca.2009.04.004

Soudmand, B. H., Shelesh‐Nezhad, K., & Salimi, Y. (2020). A combined differential scanning calorimetry‐dynamic mechanical thermal analysis approach for the estimation of constrained phases in thermoplastic polymer nanocomposites. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 137(41), 49260. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.49260

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Usman Ahmed

Written by

Usman Ahmed

Usman holds a master's degree in Material Science and Engineering from Xian Jiaotong University, China. He worked on various research projects involving Aerospace Materials, Nanocomposite coatings, Solar Cells, and Nano-technology during his studies. He has been working as a freelance Material Engineering consultant since graduating. He has also published high-quality research papers in international journals with a high impact factor. He enjoys reading books, watching movies, and playing football in his spare time.

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