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Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA)

Thermomechanical analysis is the measurement of height of a probe placed on a sample using a (small) constant force (e.g., 10 mN), while exposing the sample to a selected temperature program. This technique can be used to measure thermal expansion coefficients, the glass transition, expansion during the melting of an embedded phase, and cure or crystallization induced shrinkage.
The Perkin Elmer TMA7 is equipped with quartz expansion probes for a minimal contribution of the instrument expansion to the measured changes. A liquid nitrogen cooling facilitates experiments from -100°C to 700°C. Typical heating rates are 1-2 K/min.

The instrument is suitable for the measurement of expansion coefficients of polymers, metals, and other solids. For materials having a low thermal expansion coefficients (<5.10-5 m/(m.K)), the instrument contribution is measured using a zero expansion reference material (<1.10-6 m/(m.K)). To follow the shrinkage of thermosetting polymers during cure, a special setup is being tested).