Are You in the Market for a... Thermal Analyzer?

Thermal analysis is the broad category of at least 20 techniques that measure some fundamental property of matter as a result of adding heat. For example, dilatometry measures volume changes upon heating, thermomechanical analysis quantifies the change in dimension of a sample as a function of temperature, and thermo-optical analysis detects changes in optical properties on heating or cooling.

By Trevor Henderson

Top 6 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Thermal Analyzer

  1. If you are going to be analyzing x,y,z properties, ask if the company has any customers conducting the same type of work and if you can talk to them.
  2. Ask if you can submit a sample for a demo using specified conditions and, if so, how long this will take and whether a report will be provided.
  3. What type of post-sale application and technical support does the company offer, and how much will it cost you?
  4. What features distinguish the company’s instrument from their competitors’?
  5. What can the company tell you about the quality of the product, i.e., how was it manufactured and tested? This will help you determine the typical lifespan.
  6. What can the vendor tell you about the total cost of ownership, including expected consumables, software upgrades, service, and warranty costs?

Material types tested by thermal analysis as reported by survey respondents

Polymers 28%
Organics such as lubricants, pharmaceuticals, paints, adhesives, etc. 25%
Sulfuric AcidMinerals, inorganic chemicals, and other inorganics 18%
Metals / Alloys 12%
Ceramic / Glass / Building Materials 9%
Other 9%

When asked how new workers were trained to perform thermal analysis, respondents replied as follows.

They are trained by existing lab members 69%
They are trained by a manufacturer's representative 12%
They are trained by an in-house trainer 4%
They are trained by an outsourced instructor 3%
They learn it themselves 12%

Nearly 15% of respondents plan on purchasing a new thermal analyzer in the next year. The reasons for these purchases are as follows

Replacement of aging system
First time purchase of a thermal analyzer
Addition to existing systems, increace capacity
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a microwave digester

Reliability 82%
Ease of Use 72%
Safety 63%
Service and Support 63%
Low Maintenance/Easy to Clean 56%
Price 54%
Low Operating Cost of Ownership 48%
Versatility 45%
Warranty 43%
Ease of Installation 42%

For more information on thermal analyzers, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Designing for Science Magazine Issue Cover
Designing for Science

Published: July 10, 2014

Cover Story

Designing for Science

When executive director Graham Shimmield and his colleagues set out to build a new home for Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in 2009, they wanted a structure sensitive to the surroundings of the new locale on the coast of Maine. With the help of their architects, contractors, and engineers, they got just that.

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