According to DIN 51 007, differential thermal analysis (DTA) is suited for the determination of characteristic temperatures, while differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) additionally allows for the determination of caloric values such as the heat of fusion or heat of crystallization. This can be done with two different measuring techniques: heat-flux differential scanning calorimetry or power-compensated differential scanning calorimetry. Since all NETZSCH DSC instruments are based on the heat-flux principle, only this method will be discussed in more detail in the following sections.
For both DTA and heat-flux DSC, the primary measuring signal during a measurement is the temperature difference between a sample and reference in µV (thermal voltage). For DSC, this temperature difference can be converted into a heat-flux difference in mW by means of an appropriate calibration. This possibility does not exist for a purely DTA instrument.