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The application of modulated temperature programs to thermomechanical analysis can be used to separate the reversible nature of thermal expansion from irreversible deformation arising from creep under the applied load or changes in dimensions due to relaxation of orientation. The effect of experimental variables and calibration are described. Modulated temperature TMA allows the time-dependent nature of thermal expansivity to be studied. Measurements made under compression afford a means of measuring the thermal expansivity of soft specimens independently of initial load. Application of these principles to scanning thermal microscopy leads to a novel method of generating image contrast based upon local changes thermal expansivity of a specimen.

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