Calorimetry and thermal analysis, laboratory

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course presents the theoretical principles of Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis (Isothermal Calorimetry, DSC, Thermogravimetry, TMA, DMA) and the corresponding instrumentation with the help of laboratory training and exercises of data treatment. As for the specific application to the cultural heritage, the course includes techniques of micro-sampling and the investigation based on the artificial aging of materials.
Expected learning outcomes
The student acquires the basic expertise to collect micro-samples for the experimental investigation and to plan programs of artificial aging that may reproduce the spontaneous or damage-induced degradation of the materials. The laboratory experience adds some awareness of the sensitivity of the experimental approach and the importance of combining Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis with other kinds of investigation.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
Front Lectures:
Fundaments of Thermodynamics: enthalpy and heat capacity
Fundaments of Chemical Kinetics: progress degree of a given process
Relationship between process rate and associate heat flux
Experimental detection of the heat flux: various kinds of calorimeters
Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC): examples of current instruments
The calorimetric trace: base line, signal, underlying area
Thermo-Gravimetry Analysis (TGA): how a thermo-balance works. TGA and DTG trace
Combined TG and DSC: advantages of the combination and uses to characterize materials
Calorimetric and thermal analysis applications for the characterization of the aging of materials associated with processes of: protein denaturation (parchments); crystallization (fats and oils); glass transition (amorphous materials); gelation (polysaccharides), aggregation, oxidation, decomposition.
Principles of Thermo-Mechanical and Dynamico-Mechanical Analysis (TMA and DMA): current instruments
Preparation and execution of an DSC experiment on material of interest in the field of cultural heritage
Preparation and execution of a (TGA) experiment on material of interest in the field of cultural heritage
Processing of DSC and TG traces obtained.
Prerequisites for admission
Mathematics, General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Physics
Teaching methods
Front lectures, Calorimetry Laboratory, IT exercises on data analysis.
Teaching Resources
The teaching material consists of handouts provided during the course. Added to this are the slides presented during the lessons (pdf files) and scientific articles. Details and downloadable material are available on the teacher's website and on ARIEL. Finally links to websites for chemical education and textbooks are indicated.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The assessment of the actual achievement of the expected learning results by the student takes place through an oral exam with presentation of a laboratory report and a brief dissertation (10-minute PowerPoint presentation) on a topic chosen by the student.
The following will be generally evaluated: knowledge of the theoretical principles of calorimetry and thermal analysis; the consistency of the laboratory report; the degree of study of the topic chosen by the student and the inherent bibliographical choice.
To take the exam, you must register by the deadline set on the SIFA (
The evaluation is expressed by a mark out of thirty.
The vote is communicated to each individual student by automated e-mail from the university minutes.
CHIM/02 - PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Fessas Dimitrios