What is Particle Characterisation?

What is Particle Characterisation?

In the manufacturing and development stages of many products, understanding the properties of the materials being used is very important. Perhaps the most important aspect is knowing the size and shape of particles in those materials. However, other qualities, such as the microstructure, surface, mechanical and charge properties are also necessary to know. Welcome to the science of particle characterisation, which analyses materials at a minute level in order to determine how those materials will behave.

A ‘particle’ can be anything from a droplet of liquid, to a gas bubble, to a speck of powder. It can refer to anything from a nanometre to a centimetre in size. Particle characterisation is of special interest for a wide range of industries, such as food manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, minerals and other materials science fields.

Not all particles are simple shapes

Particles can be different in terms of sedimentation rate, diameter, aspect ratio, convexity, and solidity, amongst other qualities. They can have shapes ranging from simple spheres to rods, needles, plates or cubes. All of these factors affect how a particular material will behave, and so are of great interest to manufacturers.

Characterising the particles

Any given sample of a material will often contain a variety of different types of particles with different dimensions and properties. Analysis of a sample will often give an average figure or a distribution, rather than an exact measurement. You need to know what you want to measure, and how to select the right instrument to do it. For example, static light scattering such as laser diffraction is one method used to show volume weighted distributions, which reveals the composition of a given sample in terms of its mass.

Get expert guidance

If you’re unsure of what you’re trying to measure and what to use to solve your particular particle problem, it’s best to chat to the experts who produce the measurement instruments themselves. ATA Scientific is a trusted provider of scientific instruments and can help you with what you need, so contact us today.

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