Rapid reactivity screening using a nanocalorimeter
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Calorimetric techniques, such as Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), are widely used to characterize reactivity hazard potential. The conventional DSC is well established tool but is limited to a macroscopic sample. A key drawback of conventional macro scale DSC technology is the large thermal inertia of the calorimetric cell and its associated hardware for smaller sample size. The conventional technology can impose severe limitations in cases where only minute sample quantities are available for testing (e.g., forensics, detection of trace explosives, process or product development). A microreactor based calorimeter is being developed at MKOPSC to obtain accurate measurements with smaller sample sizes. Because these systems incorporate a very small thermal mass and use reagent quantities in the nanogram/nanoliter range, rapid and uniform heating and cooing can be achieved while maintaining a high level of temperature homogeneity. These miniaturized nanocalorimeters will offer enhanced sensing capabilities in an inexpensive portable format so that measurements can be made directly in the settings where they are needed. This paper discusses the fabrication and working of the nanocalorimeter developed at MKOPSC. With the proposed advanced device, a calorimetric analysis can be performed in a few minutes utilizing a minute sample. Therefore, such a nanocalorimeter can be effectively employed for rapid screening of reactivity hazards at relatively lower costs.