Heating and/or cooling of substances is one of the oldest and basic methods for preparing materials with defined properties.
This always leaves a definitive fingerprint of the thermal history. Beside knowing the structure we need to specify such materials
by their thermodynamic behaviour, i.e., stability/metastability, phase relations and transitions, particularly establishing
corresponding characteristic points. All this can be based on ordinary thermodynamics but its validity must be approved for
non-equilibrium conditions of temperature changes where equilibrium and kinetic effects overlap. The slower the phase transition
proceeds the greater is the deviation of the system state (kinetic curve) from its equilibrium state (equilibrium background).
This makes possible to locate the actual phase boundary between two states investigated, resulting in the so-called kinetic
phase diagrams. Most of modern technologies are intentionally based on non-equilibrium phenomena in order to create metastable/nonstable
phases of specific properties. In this sense thermal analysis is understand as the method for determining the sample state
on the basis of the sample interactions with the surroundings whose intensive parameters are controlled. Temperature is here
considered as a basic parameter that connects all thermophysical measurements and thermal treatments.
Besides a short introduction to historical data on inorganic and polymeric glasses, some aspects of the glassy-state are analyzed:
particularly, induced entropy changes, characteristics of the glass transformation and a novel anharmonicity vibrational approach.
The horizons and scientific prospects for the nano- and non-crystalline states are discussed.
The most decisive phenomena arising either from specific DTA measurements (heat inertia, temperature deviation, self-heating) or from non-isothermal kinetic treatment (overlapping models, characteristics determinations) are discussed.
The importance of the thermal behaviour of glasses is illustrated. Some procedural characteristics for glass preparation upon quenching are discussed to distinguish the positive effects of increasing cooling rate. The basic thermodynamic quantities, kinetic data and procedural parameters are listed. The glass-transformation interval is treated in detail to demonstrate the temperature-dependences of heat capacity, enthalpy an Gibbs energy for as-quenched and annealed glasses, exemplifying processes of thermally stimulated reordering. Particular attention is paid to DTA measurements, which are of use for the determination of characteristic temperatures and to for the distinction of possible types of processes which occur upon reheating. Most common cases are illustrated by a series of hypothetical ΔH vs. T and ΔTdtavs. T plots. Different glass formation coefficients based on the onset temperatures are discussed to confirm the general knowledge that their maxima match with concentration regions close to that of invariant melting of the system.