Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dynamic Mechanical Analyzers - Male or Female?

Vittorio Saggiomo, author of the Labsolutely blog, yesterday provided a tongue-in-cheek and innuendo-filled post questioning whether certain lab instruments were male or female. An example is this excerpt highlighting the male and female characteristics of the NMR:
He’s usually huge, not only the physical part, but his ego is expanding well behind his metallic shield. Usually traffic cones or yellow tape are used for outline his impressive ego.
He’s mono-thematic, ask him to do a 1H or a 13C and there will be no problem, ask to go for a 31P or a 15N and then he needs to change his mind, reflect a little bit and maybe, and only maybe, he will do it.
Female: She is still huge, but shiny and nice. Can destroy your credit cards in matter of seconds. Sometimes needs a lot of tuning foreplay before starting the measurement. It’s so hot you need liquid nitrogen to cool her down."

Consider that as warning before reading any further the rest of Vittorio's post or my post.

My contribution will be for the preeminent rheological instrument, the dynamic mechanical analyzer (DMA), keeping in mind that there are two types of instruments. Both types operate similarly, with very regular, back-and-forth oscillatory motion. This normally starts at a slow frequency, but then frequency slowly increases over time, increasing, increasing, increasing until BAM! it suddenly stops. After this, the analyst is satisfied - with the data of course.

As I mentioned, there are two types of instruments. The first is a controlled stain instrument. In this case, one of the plates drives the oscillations, while the other plate, which lies in parallel with it, feels the oscillations after they pass through the sample. The reader can draw their own conclusions about what this means regarding male and female characteristics.

The other type of instrument is a controlled-stress instrument in which an upper plate not only drives the oscillations but records the signal as well - no lower plate is needed. This one plate can provide satisfaction all by itself.

So just like the various instruments that Vittorio looked at yesterday, DMA's show both male and female characteristics. You have to make your own decision about your own individual instrument.

Previous Years
January 28, 2011 - Designing a Crematorium

January 28, 2011 - Miscellany

January 28, 2010 - Holy Grail Projects

January 28, 2009 - So that's what it's called...

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