Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) to Measure Heat Flow

Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) to Measure Heat Flow

Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is a thermal analysis process that measures changes in heat flow as a sample transforms from one state to another — changing from a solid to a liquid, for example. DSC is also used to observe more subtle physical changes, such as glass transitions, crystallization, and oxidation.

DSC is frequently used as a quality control instrument in industrial settings, especially in the manufacture of plastics and medications.

Click through the below tabs to learn more about DSC and whether it is a fit for your testing needs.

The Basics

Our Differential Scanning Calorimetry Experience

Our team of analytical scientists has delivered fast and accurate DSC results at an affordable price for over three decades.

What is Differential Scanning Calorimetry Testing?

DSC analyzes the behavior of materials as a function of temperature or time and is one of the most frequently used thermal analysis techniques.

DSC measures the heat flow from a sample after being heated, cooled, or kept at a stable temperature. During analysis, the sample and a reference material are maintained at the same temperature. By comparing the heat flow between the sample and the reference material, DSC can determine the heat absorbed or released by the sample as it is exposed to different types of thermal energy to assess the rate of both endothermic and exothermic phase transitions.

Why You May Need Differential Scanning Calorimetry

DSC provides insights into the impact of thermal energy on materials. This makes DSC an excellent analysis tool for quality control if concerned about how temperatures will affect product stability or viability. In particular, you might consider DSC when you need to:

• Study polymer curing
• Determine composition variations
• Measure the melting point
• Identify the glass transition temperature
• Assess the degree of crystallinity and oxidation

How We Deliver Results with Differential Scanning Calorimetry

The primary outcome from DSC analysis is a curve showing heat flux versus temperature or versus time. The peaks illustrate exothermic or endothermic reactions in the sample. Our experienced scientists use this information, along with their expertise, to relate the findings back to the sample properties to answer real world questions regarding performance.

Differential Scanning Calorimetry Applications and Industries

DSC is used across a myriad of industries to evaluate numerous characteristic properties in a variety of materials, such as chemical reactions, melting points, and crystallization behavior. DSC is also used to assess the influence of additives and fillers in the processing of materials.


• Plastic and Glass Polymers Manufacturing
• Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
• General Manufacturing
• Is DSC a good match for your needs? Contact Innovatech Labs today.


Quality Control

DSC testing is a pervasive quality assurance tool, especially in plastics and drug manufacturing. The test may be used as an initial screening tool to monitor the effects of heat and aging on samples, and to determine ideal temperatures for manufacture and storage. The test can also compare quality between samples and identify variations in sample composition.

Polymer Testing

Many factors affect the durability of plastics. DSC determines the material stability when exposed to thermal environments, identifying polymer degradation resulting from variations in heat and the degree of polymer curing in a material.

Based on analysis, manufacturers can determine the best processing temperatures for polymer curing, injection molding, extrusion, and heat welding. DSC also assesses the impact of fillers and impurities on the long-term performance of a product.

Crystallinity Testing

Crystallization affects the optical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties of materials. Materials can crystallize upon cooling from melting, evaporation of additives, or mechanical stretching. DSC can measure the degree of crystallinity, including the size and orientation of the molecular chains.

Example of Differential Scanning Calorimetry Testing

Extreme temperatures can compromise the efficacy of medications. Sometimes the result is a negligible reduction in effectiveness but, at other times, the impact can be life-threatening for patients.

To ensure product safety, pharmacologic manufacturers often use DSC testing to determine how temperature affects the viability of medications. Through the analysis of the results, companies can develop processes to ensure product stability from manufacture to patient use.

Review all our analytical testing case studies to learn more about our capabilities.

Differential Scanning Calorimetry Service Details

• Sample size: Samples should weigh 50 milligrams or less.
• Sample type and compatibility: DSC is primarily used to test polymers, including films, fibers, and powder. However, the test is also an option for some metals and liquids.
• Material identification: While this technique does not provide positive material identification, it records the impact of thermal events occurring across a broad range of temperatures. (-210°C to 250°C).
• Quantification and qualification: DSC measures the change in enthalpy to determine if the material is endothermic or exothermic.
• Unique capabilities: DSC can measure glass transition temperatures, crystallization and melting temperatures, and also specific heat capacity.
• Timing: Typical analysis time takes approximately 1 hour.

Contact Innovatech Labs for More Information on DSC Analysis

Every project is unique, so we invite you to contact one of our highly skilled analysts to discuss your specific needs. Contact us today by email to learn more about our differential scanning calorimetry services or phone 888-740-5227.