Chemical Characterisation and Analysis Facility

mass spec

Materials characterisation

Materials characterisation covers a large range of analyses from the measurement of thermal and mechanical properties to the analysis of porous materials and polymers. This characterisation aims to link the properties of materials with their structure.

Areas where materials characterisation is useful include:

  • analysis of the thermal stability of a material upon heating and identification of the degradation products
  • determination of glass transition and melting point of a polymer
  • measurement of the molecular weight distribution of a polymer
  • determination of the BET surface area of a solid


The materials characterisation facility in the CCAF at the University of Bath consists of five state-of-the-art instruments:

  • Thermogravimetry with Evolving Gas Analysis (Setaram Setsys Evolution 16 TGA-DTA-DSC equipped with Pfeiffer GSD 320 mass spectrometer) to monitor the mass change over a change in temperature, with the detection of evolved gases during the experiment.
  • Microcalorimetry (Setaram microSC) to measure the heat transfer associated with any change of a compound: physical transformation, chemical reaction, phase transition, etc.
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (Mettler Toledo DMA1) to determine the Young's modulus and the visco-elastic behaviour of a solid specimen.
  • Surface & Porosity Analysis (Micromeritics 3Flex) to measure nitrogen adsorption isotherms on a solid, used to calculate the BET surface area and the pore size distribution.
  • Size Exclusion Chromatography, or GPC, (Agilent GPC/SEC MDS) to determine the molar mass distribution of polymer chains.

Internal users

For information on mass spectrometry for University of Bath staff and students please see our internal Materials Characterisation wiki pages.