Microcalorimetry Test

Microcalorimetry Test

Microcalorimetric analysis typically determines basic chemical heat values within seconds. Alfa Chemistry offers microcalorimetric testing services to help you quickly predict the fire performance of materials, including samples you send for testing or samples you develop in partnership with us.


Test Content

Microcalorimeters are seen as an efficient, low-cost tool for determining and predicting the fire performance of materials.

Scope of Application

The microcalorimetric test is suitable for studying the action mechanism of flame retardants, comparing the different flame retardant properties of flame retardants used in materials, and evaluating the combustion performance of materials. Especially when the synthetic amount of the flame retardant is relatively small in the flame retardant research and development stage, this is the preferred candidate method for the research of the flame retardant properties of the material.

Test Principle

Microcalorimeters, also known as pyrolysis combustion flow calorimeter (PCFCs), work on the basis of traditional oxygen consumption calorimetry. The sample is first heated at a constant heating rate (usually 1-5 K/s) in a pyrolyzer, and the degradation products are purged from the pyrolyzer by an inert gas. The gas stream is mixed with oxygen and enters the combustion chamber at 900°C, where the decomposition products are fully oxidized. The oxygen concentration and flow rate of the combustion gases are used to determine the oxygen consumption involved in the combustion process, and from these measurements the heat release rate is determined.

Operating principle of PCFCOperating principle of PCFC [1]

Sample Dosage

This technique allows rapid parameter determination with very small amounts of sample (1-50 mg), typically 2-5 mg.

Test Standard

  • ASTM D7309

Important Test Parameters

  • Specific heat release rate (W/g)
  • Heat of combustion (J/g)
  • Ignition temperature (°C)

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Research Information

Screening Flammability of Nanocomposites By PCFC

PCFC measures the heat release capacity (HRC) of milligram samples, which is beneficial when testing different nanocomposite batches. T. Dhanushka Hapuarachchi et al. used PCFC to screen various PLA nanocomposites for their potential flammability, and their heat release capability (HRC) results are shown in the figure below. The results showed that the HRC of the PLA ternary system based on sepiolite and multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs) was reduced by 58%.

Effects of MWNTs, sepiolite and ternary systems on the exothermic ability of PLA.Effects of MWNTs, sepiolite and ternary systems on the exothermic ability of PLA. [2]

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  1. Alpha-Oumar Diallo, et al. (2013). "An innovative experimental approach aiming to understand and quantify the actual fire hazards of ionic liquids," Energy & Environmental Science 6, 699-710.
  2. T. DhanushkaHapuarachchi, et al. (2010). "Multiwalled carbon nanotubes and sepiolite nanoclays as flame retardants for polylactide and its natural fibre reinforced composites," Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing 41(8), 954-963.
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