Calorimetry measures the thermal energy released from a sample. It is applied in two areas:
- The measurement of plutonium in relatively large quantities. Thermal energy is generated through alpha particle decay.
- The measurement of tritium in relatively large quantities. Thermal energy is generated through beta particle decay.
Alpha and beta particles have a relatively short range inside the sample materials so the bulk of the energy released in the decay process is deposited locally in the sample. ANTECH calorimeters determine the rate of energy release by the samples through these decay processes.
Calorimeters are configured as single instruments, unlike gamma ray and neutron instruments in which the detector and counting electronics can be separated. The thermal element (or detector component) uses temperature sensitive materials such a nickel wire or thermocouples as a means of measuring temperature. It uses electrical heating elements as a means of depositing thermal energy for temperature control. The electronic coupling components are similar to electrical voltage and current measuring devices.
ANTECH employs two different calorimeter technologies: Isothermal calorimeters employ the power replacement method and achieving adequate measurement precision. Twin-cell heat-flow calorimeters are applied where high accuracy and precision measurement are required.