Lab Manager

Are You in the Market for a Thermal Analyzer?

Learn the most common types of thermal analyzers readers use and more from the latest thermal analyzer user survey results.

By Erica Tennenhouse

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 upon heating or cooling.

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 it was 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?

Types of materials requiring thermal analysis used by survey respondents:

Polymers 56%
Organics such as lubricants, pharmaceuticals, paints, adhesives, etc. 42%
Minerals, inorganic chemicals, and other inorganics 29%
Ceramic / glass/ building materials 17%
Metals / alloys 12%
Other 23%

Physical state of materials being measured by thermal analysis :

Liquid 50%
Powder 44%
Thin film 29%
Gel 21%
Fiber 19%
Foam 19%
Paste 15%
Other 35%

Nearly 34% of respondents are engaged in purchasing a new thermal analyzer. The reasons for these purchases are as follows:

Replacement of an aging system
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity
First time purchase
Setting up a new lab

Top 10 features/factors respondents look for when purchasing a thermal analyzer:

Reliability 93%
Ease of use 81%
Low maintenance/easy to clean 70%
Safety 65%
Service and support 65%
Price 58%
Low operating cost of ownership 50%
Warranty 44%
Ease of installation 38%
Versatility 34%

Not Sure Where To Begin With Thermal Analysis?

Here are some key questions to ask and examples of current technology.

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

See Results from previous surveys:

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Designing a Lab

Published: July 13, 2017

Cover Story

Designing a Lab

Lessons learned from a 60,000 square-foot project completed in 11 months

Featured Articles