All chemical, physical and biological processes result in either heat production or heat consumption. Calorimetry is a versatile technique for this thermal activity in terms of heat, heat flow or heat capacity. Calorimetry provides a direct and continuous measurement of a chemical process, and therefore provides real-time data as the reaction proceeds. All binding events or chemical interations are accompanied by the evolution or absorption of heat (a change in enthalpy), and therefore full thermodynamic information can be obtained from a single isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiment.
The major interest is in isothermal titrations for studying molecular interactions, metal ions-ligand interactions as well as protein-ligand interactions. A microcalorimeter will probably be most applicable for most applications which give significant heat changes but if the thermal changes are too small or the concentrations possible to work with are too small then a nanocalorimeter is a requirement. Other researchers are also interested in studying protein-ligand interactions, and in battery and functional materials applications. The TAM III system is a multi-modular calorimetry instrument, and up to four independet calorimeters (and different calorimeters) can be operated simultaneously with TAM III.
Basically, the TAM III system at NMMU has one nanocalorimeter for isothermal titrations, a multicalorimeter for the microbial activity aspects and the remaining two modules accommodate calorimeters for solid samples (a macrocalorimeter) and for solid/solution studies (a precision solution calorimeter).