Smart Thermal Analysis (Part II): Identification of Measurements via Database Search

The database system for thermal analysis by NETZSCH, called Identify, has now (from Proteus® analysis version 8.0 or higher) already more than 2000 database entries available.
Furthermore, Identify can now be used with combined TGA+DSC, TGA-c-DTA® and STA measurements, which allows for material identification with greater certainty.

Identify is a unique database system in thermal analysis for the recognition and comparison of measurement curves of types DSC, TGA, DIL/TMA and Cp. What are the benefits of Identify? A database search using Identify can be very helpful for material identification, failure analysis and quality control (QC). Identify not only makes the interpretation of measurements easier and faster, but also more significant. In addition, this database system is always of value for what is called “data mining”: the archiving, searching and finding of measurements and literature data. All in all, Identify makes thermal analysis smarter!

Database Contents

The Identify database already contains more than 2000 database entries! Shown in figure 1 are the NETZSCH libraries covering various application fields: ceramics, inorganics, metals, alloys, organics, pharma, food, cosmetics and polymers. Available as an option is the KIMW database developed by the Kunststoffinstitut Lüdenscheid, Germany, with DSC curves for 800 different commercially available polymer grades.

Libraries within Identify inclduing in sum more than 2000 database entries from the field of ceramics, inorganics, metals, alloys, organics, pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics and polymers.
Figure 1: Libraries within Identify.

Of course, users can also build up their own libraries and share them with their colleagues on the computer network.

Combined Database Search

The latest development stage for Identify has been a combined database search for independent DSC and TGA signals, for STA (=TGA+DSC simultaneously) and for TGA-c-DTA® signals. Since information about caloric effects – for example, due to glass transition and melting – and mass changes due to decomposition is used in combination, it becomes possible to identify materials with a much higher level of certainty. This can be demonstrated by the example shown in figure 2, where the polymer PB (= polybutene) is clearly identified by means of a TGA measurement – particularly due to the combination with its c-DTA® evaluation. Taking two signals into consideration at once instead of only one signal makes a big difference!

Illustration of a material recognition of the polymer PB using a TGA-c-DTA® measurement and Identify. The unknown TGA-c-DTA® curves is overlaid with database curves found. Furthermore, the so called hit list of the database search is shown.
Figure 2: Material recognition of the polymer PB using a TGA-c-DTA® measurement and Identify.

The calculated c-DTA® curve is like a qualitative DSC signal which, in essence, upgrades the TGA instrument almost into an STA. With regard to the database search, the c-DTA® signal acts as a link between the TGA and DSC worlds – and Identify is now able to feature this linkage!

This image shows a chain between TGA and DSC illustrating the linkage, which is due to the c-DTA® evaluation of TGA.

In summary, the contents of the Identify database system was expandend to more than 2000 database entries. Furthermore, Identify can now also be used with combined TGA+DSC, TGA-c-DTA® and STA measurements, which allows for material identification with greater certainty!

More details can be found in this presentation and in the following scientific article published recently:

[1] A. Schindler, M. Doedt, S. Gezgin, J. Menzel, S. Schmölzer. Identification of polymers by means of DSC, TG, STA and computer-assisted database search. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, DOI 10.1007/s10973-017-6208-5,

See also Smart Thermal Analysis (Part I): AutoEvaluation (including a video about Identify).

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Will this software work for TA instruments?

[…] And don’t forget to see also Smart Thermal Analysis (Part I): AutoEvaluation of DSC, TGA and STA and Smart Thermal Analysis (Part II): Identify […]