ASTM E537 - 12

    Standard Test Method for The Thermal Stability of Chemicals by Differential Scanning Calorimetry

    Active Standard ASTM E537 | Developed by Subcommittee: E27.02

    Book of Standards Volume: 14.02


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This test method is useful in detecting potentially hazardous reactions including those from volatile chemicals and in estimating the temperatures at which these reactions occur and their enthalpies (heats). This test method is recommended as an early test for detecting the thermal hazards of an uncharacterized chemical substance or mixture (see Section 8).

    5.2 The magnitude of the change of enthalpy may not necessarily denote the relative hazard in a particular application. For example, certain exothermic reactions are often accompanied by gas evolution that increases the potential hazard. Alternatively, the extent of energy release for certain exothermic reactions may differ widely with the extent of confinement of volatile products. Thus, the presence of an exotherm and its approximate temperature are the most significant criteria in this test method (see Section 3 and Fig. 1).

    5.3 When volatile substances are being studied, it is important to perform this test with a confining pressurized atmosphere so that changes of enthalpy that can occur above normal boiling or sublimation points may be detected. As an example, an absolute pressure of 1.14 MPa (150 psig) will generally elevate the boiling point of a volatile organic substance 100°C. Under these conditions exothermic decomposition is often observed.

    5.4 For some substances the rate of enthalpy change during an exothermic reaction may be small at normal atmospheric pressure, making an assessment of the temperature of instability difficult. Generally a repeated analysis at an elevated pressure will improve the assessment by increasing the rate of change of enthalpy.

    Note 1The choice of pressure may sometimes be estimated by the pressure of the application to which the material is exposed.

    5.5  The four significant criteria of this test method are: the detection of a change of enthalpy; the approximate temperature at which the event occurs; the estimation of its enthalpy and the observance of effects due to the cell atmosphere and pressure.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method describes the ascertainment of the presence of enthalpic changes in a test specimen, using minimum quantities of material, approximates the temperature at which these enthalpic changes occur and determines their enthalpies (heats) using differential scanning calorimetry or pressure differential scanning calorimetry.

    1.2 This test method may be performed on solids, liquids, or slurries.

    1.3 This test method may be performed in an inert or a reactive atmosphere with an absolute pressure range from 100 Pa through 7 MPa and over a temperature range from 300 to 800 K (27 to 527°C).

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.5 There is no ISO standard equivalent to this test method.

    1.6 This standard may involve hazardous materials, operations, and equipment. This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific safety precautions are given in Section 8.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E473 Terminology Relating to Thermal Analysis and Rheology

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    E967 Test Method for Temperature Calibration of Differential Scanning Calorimeters and Differential Thermal Analyzers

    E968 Practice for Heat Flow Calibration of Differential Scanning Calorimeters

    E1445 Terminology Relating to Hazard Potential of Chemicals

    E1860 Test Method for Elapsed Time Calibration of Thermal Analyzers


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.030 (Physics. Chemistry)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/E0537-12

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