Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA)

Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA) is done to measure the response of different materials to heat. The change in properties of materials is measured with change in temperature.

Last Updated: July 11th, 2023 First Published :


How TMA works

A sample is gradually heated to a specified temperature or until its properties change. The change in physical properties of the sample is measured in response to the change in temperature. Force can also be applied during heating to determine the response of the material under different modes. 

Figure 1: Schematic TMA instrument (UTP is the universal temperature programmer)

Strengths of TMA

  1. TMA is quick and easy to carry out.
  2. It provides valuable information about the behavior of the material as a function of change in temperature. 

Limitations of TMA

  1. The sample is destroyed during the test. 
  2. It is difficult to get accurate results for irregularly shaped objects. 
Figure 2: Thermocouple for measuring temperature in the system

Uses of TMA

Thermochemical analysis is a fundamental procedure used across industries. It is heavily used in material science for the development of new materials. It is used in industries for designing products and for quality control. And it is also used to assess the stability of a material to heat. 

Schematic diagram of TMA apparatus

A schematic diagram of a typical TMA apparatus is shown in Figure 1. Figure 2 shows a typical thermocouple used in the instrument. 

Figure 3: Melting transitions of each wax component are defined by a sharp softening of the sample


Figure 3 is a TMA graph for a mixture of three different waxes melting at different temperatures. The onset of vertical displacement gives a simple and reproducible measure of the melting point of each component of the test mixture.

Sample requirements 

The sample should be solid. It should be less than 26 mm in length, 4.7 mm in width, and 1.0 mm in height.

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