The simultaneous thermal analyzer inside of the fresh fuels glovebox (FFG) is used to collectively measure a differential thermal analysis (DTA) signal together with a thermogravimetric signal to determine phase transformation temperatures, enthalpy of formation of phases, and mass changes with temperature; useful in studying decomposition reactions and oxygen-to-metal ratios in ceramics. This instrument will be operated for measurement of irradiated, radioactive and nonradioactive materials. The materials included in this scope are structural reactor, fuel and moderator materials. Sample materials will typically be solid form with occasional powders. Typical sample masses range from 10 to 150 mg.
The STA is a combination instrument that combines the DSC with a thermogravimetric analyzer (TGA) that measures mass changes in a sample as a function of temperature. The advantage is that both the mass change and energetics are measured simultaneously on one sample so that the test conditions are identical. All of the same property measurements made with the DSC are possible along with information about the mass change as a function of temperature that can be used to study sintering behavior, and measure oxygen-to-metal stoichiometry in oxide fuels as just a few examples.
Our system is a Netzsch STA 449 F3 series with a temperature range from room temperature to 1,600°C in inert, oxidizing and reducing atmospheres as well as vacuum. The digital balance resolution is 1.0 ug and the thermodynamic data is comparable to our DSC.