Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) is conducted with a variety of configurations involving differing probe geometries under static loading in tension, compression, or flexure. The most frequent assignment made in these applications involving thermomechanical measurements is that of transition temperatures, which include the melt temperature, glass transition, softening point, etc. Assurance of an isothermal study temperature is also a common requirement in TMA experiments. Intrinsic in any of these measurements is the knowledge of the sample temperature; yet, in practice, it is only the temperature in close proximity to the specimen that is known.
The transformation of proximity temperatures recorded in thermomechanical devices to sample transition temperatures is of utmost importance in both basic research and quality control of materials. It is accomplished by an accurate calibration of the TMA sample temperature and should be considered a prerequisite to may other determinations. This paper will discuss the topic of temperature calibration of thermomechanical devices. Efforts which led to the establishment of ASTM E 1363, Test Method for Calibration of Thermomechanical Analyzers, for the calibration of such TMA instruments through ASTM Task Group E37.01.12 will be included.
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