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Discovery TGA Thermo-Gravimetric Analyzer with Mass Spectrometer Accessory

The TA Discovery Thermo-Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA) and Mass Spectrometer (MS) at the MRL are great tools for the quantitative analysis of a sample as it is heated. The TGA measures the change in mass of a sample as heat is applied in a controlled environment. The evolved gas from the sample can also be routed to a mass spectrometer for identification. TGA and TGA-MS can be used to determine thermal stability, decomposition products, ad-/ab-/de- sorption of gasses, reaction kinetics, Curie point temperatures and more. 
The TA Discovery TGA uses a leading design wherein the thermo-balance is isolated from an innovative IR-heated furnace to measure weight changes as small as 1 microgram across temperature ranges from 30 to 1200 °C.  Samples may be analyzed in either an inert (N2 or Ar) or reactive (air) atmosphere.  Other more exotic gases will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The system’s comprehensive programming capabilities can further allow users to switch from unreactive to reactive atmospheres during a run. A typical sample size is 1-20 mg.  If larger sample sizes need to be measured, contact TEMPO staff to change the default set up.  Sample loading into the instrument is controlled by an autosampler robot allowing up to 25 samples to be analyzed without the user needing to be present.  The average sample is run in 1 to 2 hours with 30 minutes to cool down. Charges for the TGA are billed by the hour including cool down time.
The default set up for the Discovery TGA is an alumina sample cup atop a platinum or ceramic hanging pan.  The MRL provides the expensive hanging pans while each user is responsible for having his/her own compatible sample cups. The alumina sample cups are available at cost from the MRL on a limited basis. These sample cups can be cleaned and reused many times. We use this set up because it is the most universal set up for our various users.
The exhaust from the TGA furnace can be routed to a mass spectrometer for Evolved Gas Analysis (EGA) up to 300 amu.  The technique has a very low detection limit, typically in the PPB range. It can easily resolve the different isotopes of an element. This TGA-MS system is flexible, robust and easy to use.  Due to the size of the capillary tube, MS samples are limited to 2mg unless previous TGA data shows a small mass loss which will not clog the tube.  We recommend that all MS users first run their samples on the TGA to establish a baseline of decomposition temperatures from which they can further design their method.
Some possible TGA applications are:




Step evaluation, residue

Thermal stability, decomposition

Step evaluation

Stoichiometry of reactions


Kinetics of reactions

Conversion, kinetics

Adsorption / Desorption processes

Step evaluation

Vaporization behavior

Step evaluation, integration

Influence of reactive gases

Step evaluation


Step evaluation

Oxidation stability

Onset, limits

Evolved gaseous analysis (EGA)

MS, Onset

TEMPO staff members are available to speak with users interested in expanding outside of the default parameters listed above.  If users wish to test larger sample sizes, use more exotic gases, develop custom methods, or work with the MS, please contact TEMPO staff.
The system is supported by TRIOS software for method development, system control and data analysis.  This powerful software can be downloaded onto any windows system for free, allowing MRL users a comprehensive tool for analyzing both TGA and MS data at their convenience.  Data may also be easily exported into a tab delimited format.
For individuals wishing to use the TEMPO TGA-MS, training is available on a quarterly basis. 
The TA brochure for the instrument can be viewed at this link for your convenience.



If you have any questions or would like to find out about the training, please contact amanda [at] mrl [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Amanda Strom ) at x7925 .