A eutectic system is a homogeneous mixture of 2 components that melts and solidifies like a pure substance. The presence of an additional component (“impurity”) causes the reduction of the melting point of the main component. This effect can be highlighted with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC).
For materials with a purity higher than 98.5 mol percent, DSC can be used to determine the amount of impurity in the mixture, or rather the purity of the main component. The method is described in ASTM E928, DIN 51004 and DIN 51007. For that, the simplified Van´t Hoff equation is used:
In practice, the result is usually not a straight line because of pre-melting which cannot be sufficiently detected by means of DSC. Linearization is carried out by adding a correction factor c to the total area and to each partial area:
The substance under investigation should have a defined melting point and a defined molecular weight.
- This test method is not applicable to materials that decompose during melting.
- You should clean the sample crucible using an appropriate solvent followed by a pre-heating step.
- The measurements should be carried out using
- a small heating rate, e.g., 0.3 to 0.7 K/min (ASTM E928) or 1 K/min (DIN 51 004/DIN 51 007). A larger heating rate can be applied up to 25 K below the melting effect.
- a small sample mass (about 1 to 3 mg).
- You should reweigh the sample after completion of the measurement. If the sample lost more than 1 weight %, the data cannot be accepted.