Application of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC) in food and drug industries Review uri icon


  • Phase transition issues in the field of foods and drugs have significantly influenced these industries and consequently attracted the attention of scientists and engineers. The study of thermodynamic parameters such as the glass transition temperature (Tg), melting temperature (Tm), crystallization temperature (Tc), enthalpy (H), and heat capacity (Cp) may provide important information that can be used in the development of new products and improvement of those already in the market. The techniques most commonly employed for characterizing phase transitions are thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), thermomechanical analysis (TMA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Among these techniques, DSC is preferred because it allows the detection of transitions in a wide range of temperatures (-90 to 550 °C) and ease in the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the transitions. However, the standard DSC still presents some limitations that may reduce the accuracy and precision of measurements. The modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC) has overcome some of these issues by employing sinusoidally modulated heating rates, which are used to determine the heat capacity. Another variant of the MDSC is the supercooling MDSC (SMDSC). SMDSC allows the detection of more complex thermal events such as solid-solid (Ts-s) transitions, liquid-liquid (Tl-l) transitions, and vitrification and devitrification temperatures (Tv and Tdv, respectively), which are typically found at the supercooling temperatures (Tco). The main advantage of MDSC relies on the accurate detection of complex transitions and the possibility of distinguishing reversible events (dependent on the heat capacity) from non-reversible events (dependent on kinetics). © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

publication date

  • 2020-01-01