Differential thermal analysis (DTA) as a method of analysing properties of chemical compounds, more especially of clay minerals, developed rapidly, but lack of quantitative interpretations left many problems to be studied. A historical review was presented, showing the purpose of the study. Equipment was descibed in detail, with special attention to sample holders and calibration techniques.The influences were discussed of rate of temperature rise, of type and place of the thermocouples, of packing and type of inert materials and clays, and of the adsorbed cations. Usually the effects were demonstrated with experimental curves. The theory of heat transfer was worked out and applied to the DTA. Attention was given to the problems of peak shifting. Measurements obtained with different equipment were compared and conclusions were drawn on corrections that could be made.The author stressed the significance of the DTA method, especially in pedology. Two appendices give the solution of the differential equations used and the standardization rules for DTA equipment.
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