In thermomechanical analysis (TMA) changes in sample dimensions are measured as a function of time or temperature under a nonoscillatory load. When these changes are measured without an applied load the technique is referred to as thermodilatometry. Taken together, these techniques are used in describing the viscous and elastic properties of materials ranging from liquids to polymers to metals. While a wide variety of instrumentation is available, they differ primarily in probe type, the arrangement of the applied loads, the mode of detection (mechanical, optical, or electrical), and the degree of automation. This paper will provide an overview of the techniques, instrumentation, and applications of thermomechanical analysis in material science.
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