The usual sample-thermocouple arrangement in differential thermal analysis (DTA) involves direct placement of the differential themocouple within the samples. With this arrangement, fusion or sintering of samples makes sample changes difficult. Often, thermocouples are damaged beyond repair in attempting to remove them from the samples. Furthermore, chemical attack by various materials may alter the electrical characteristics of the thermocouples, in addition to shortening their lives. The use of noble metal couples reduces these difficulties, but does not eliminate them.