This article serves to outline the range of applications of thermal analysis techniques that are used to study catalysis. Thermal analysis techniques are useful for studying catalysts and understanding surface species because they can be used to activate, characterize, and test catalysts.

Some of the primary thermal analysis techniques for characterizing catalysis are temperature-programmed desorption (TPD), temperature-programmed reduction (TPR), and temperature-programmed oxidation (TPO). Temperature-programmed techniques are relatively simple to perform and are cost-effective. TPD, TPR and TPO are similar to one another in that they utilize almost identical equipment.

What is Thermal Analysis

Thermal analysis is an area of material science that focuses on studying the thermophysical and kinetic attributes of materials with respect to temperature. Thermal properties can be quantified as a function of temperature or time across a broad temperature range.

Thermal analysis is often employed to study such parameters as thermal stability and decomposition temperature.

In research and production environments, thermal analysis techniques are used to investigate the thermal properties of materials such as plyboards, polymer composites, films, polymers, metallic composites, and rubber-based composites. Some examples are:

  • Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), heat difference
  • Thermomechanical analysis (TMA) deformations and dimension
  • Differential thermal analysis (DTA), temperature difference
  • Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), mass (weight)
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), mechanical stiffness, and damping
  • Evolved gas analysis (EGA), gaseous decomposition or desorption products
  • Laser-flash analysis (LFA), thermal diffusivity, and thermal conductivity
  • Dielectric thermal analysis (DEA), dielectric permittivity, and loss factor
  • Dilatometry (DIL), volume
  • Pressurized TGA (PTGA), mass changes as a function of pressure

More About Catalysis

Catalysis is a unique field of science in that it has had a vast impact on modern chemical technology. Generally, commercial catalysts consist of a solid surface with a large active surface area. These can either be ceramic type materials or finely dispersed metals supported on a high surface area material

Catalytic processes require the adsorption of molecules on the upper layer and, because of this, the characterization of this active surface is critical for gaining the predictive power required to form new catalysts.

Catalysis and chemical engineering have progressed in clarifying the key steps required in catalytic reactions. Optimizing catalytic processes requires the knowledge of adsorption of reactants, reaction to form the necessary product directly or indirectly, desorption of products, and transport of the products from surface to gas stream.

Hiden Analytical Solutions for Catalysis and Thermal Analysis

The CATLAB is a modular microreactor system, created by experts at Hiden Analytical, offering best-possible analysis using seamless hardware-software integration. This equipment uses a low thermal mass furnace with built-in air cooling and can reach a temperature of 1000 °C at rates in the ranges of 1-20 °C per minute.

Hiden Analytical also produces a range of gas analyzers, for example the HPR-20 EGA, for integration with other thermal analysis equipment. Hiden Analytical are experts in the field of catalysis and thermal analysis, if you would like to find out more about their solutions, or would like some advice on your applications, contact the team today.

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