Literally translated, the term “crosslinking“ means “cross networking”. In the chemical context, it is used for reactions in which molecules are linked together by introducing covalent bonds and forming three-dimensional networks.
Curing also describes the process in which chemical reactions or physical processes yield better cross-linked, harder or tougher products.
With the help of thermal analysis, there are various possibilities to investigate cross-linking reactions. One method is differential thermal analysis (DTA) or differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).
Cross-linking reactions in DSC measurements show, for example, exothermal effects from which characteristic reaction temperatures and the reaction enthalpy can be determined. In addition, DSC measurements can also be used to determine the reaction kinetics. Another possibility of tracking reactions by means of measurement is dielectric analysis (DEA). Here, it is even possible to track reactions on-line in the process by applying appropriate sensors. The change of material properties for crosslinked material can be determined by means of DMA or TMA measurements.