Thermal analytical methods monitor differences in some sample property as the temperature increases, or differences in temperature between a sample and a standard as a function of added heat. These methods are usually applied to solids to characterize the materials.
Thermogravimetry is the measurement of the mass of a sample as the temperature increases. This method is useful for determining sample purity and water, carbonate, and organic content; and for studying decomposition reactions.
Differential thermal analysis is the measurement of the difference in temperature between a sample and a reference as heat is applied to the system. This method is sensitive to endothermic and exothermic processes including: phase transitions, dehydration, and decomposition, redox, or solid-state reactions.
Differential scanning calorimetry independently measures the rate of heat flow to a sample and a standard that are at the same temperature. Data is taken by monitoring the differential heat flow as a function of temperature. DSC is useful to make the same measurements as DTA and has the added capability to measure heat capacities.