Tag Archives: particle size and shape

Particle Size Analysers and Their Industry Uses

For many industries, the ability to determine and analyse the average size of particles in a sample is important and informative. As a result, particle size analysers have a significant role to play. Able to very quickly and efficiently measure the size of grains or particles in a sample, this equipment provides data that is useful to companies and industries alike. Not only can the size of grains or particles be indicated, information about particle shape and formation can also be deduced.

What is a Particle Size Analyser?

A particle size analyser is a specialised piece of equipment that is used to measure the sizes of grains and particles that make up a particular sample. Capable of quickly measuring the sizes of many particles in a sample, particle size analysers can simultaneously provide information about particle size distributions. This information is useful and significant in many industries.

Where does Particle Size Analysis occur?

Particle size analysis is a branch of Particle Science. Analysis of particle size and shape usually takes place in specialised particle technology laboratories.

Why and how is Particle Size Analysis useful in industry?

In many industries, it is important for particle size and shape to be known and understood. These industries include: the chemical, mining, forestry, agriculture and aggregate industries.

Chemical Industry

Knowledge about particle size is useful in the chemical industry as wet and/or dry materials can range in size from nanometres to centimetres and a huge number of sub-industries are affected. Also, in the chemical industry it is widely understood that different methods of particle size analysis can produce different results depending on the method used to determine its measurement. In light of this, it is very important that the method most relevant to its use is used to determine a particle’s size.

Mining Industry

Mining operations involve the processing of particular materials. It is important to have intelligence about particle size and shape as the use of over-sized materials through processing channels is likely to damage equipment and decrease the rate at which production processes operate. Knowing the size of materials means that the appropriate equipment is used and systems can operate with optimum efficiency. When crushing materials, particle size analysis helps to ensure the effectiveness of Semi-Autogenous Grinding Mills.

Agriculture Industry

In agriculture, contamination of products can occur if unwanted materials are not identified. The use of a particle size analyser allows companies to monitor processes and ensure that unwanted materials are detected and isolated.

Forestry Industry

Particle size analysis of wood products is used to ensure that high quality standards are upheld in the forestry industry and that the products produced are of excellent quality. In this context, particle size analysis assists companies to reduce waste and increase productivity.

Aggregate Industry

The use of particle size analysis supports aggregate companies to create robust, durable and long-lasting roads, as well as other products.

An asset in your industry

Particle size analysis is incredibly useful for determining the size and shape of particles. Without this information, the processes used in a number of industries would be inhibited or drastically slowed.

The equipment used to indicate particle size and shape is sophisticated enough to provide this information quickly and accurately, making it an important asset for companies and industries more generally. ATA Scientific offers a range of particle size analysers, so contact us today to find the right one for you.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation

Particle Imaging Techniques

What is particle imaging used for?

Where particle size analysis is used to produce a distribution curve showing how large the majority of particles in a given solution are, particle imaging also provides the ability quantify morphological (ie. shape) characteristics of particles.

Determining particle shape parameters

When reporting particle size, we try to report just one single number for each particle; the equivalent spherical size. In image analysis reports, this is often termed the CE diameter (or Circular Equivalent diameter). However, when it comes to reporting particle shape, there are many numerical descriptions that can be used, including: length/width, aspect ratio, circularity, compactness, roughness, convexity and elongation. Most image analysis system also report parameters such as lightness/darkness, opacity and intensity. All of these parameters help differentiate one type of particle to another, which is one of the real strengths of image analysis.

Where particle sizing can only report a size distribution, image analysis can be used to quantify subtle differences in shape or optical properties. New image analysis systems also provide powerful software packages that enable classification of particles into different groups. This in turn enables users to quantify different types of materials in the one sample.

How FlowCAM works

FlowCAM is one of the more popular of the new age particle imaging systems. This system counts, sizes and images particles in a sample. The FlowCAM also provides the option of colour analysis and detection of living organisms by means of fluorescence. The measurement process is as follows:

  • Particles are suspended in water
  • The water is pumped through a flow cell
  • Optics and a CCD camera magnify and capture an image of each particle, measuring its shape and size
  • The results are displayed as a scattergram.
  • The user selects distributions to display, and regions in the scattergram of particular interest can be selected and displayed in more detail.
  • A library of information is housed in the system for screening future samples, if necessary.

Real life applications

In real life, particle size and shape determining technologies like those FlowCAM incorporates are used in applications like:

  • Water analysis for environmental purposes, measuring things like plankton, algal blooms and levels of sedimentation
  • Biotechnological settings, where quantification of enzymes or fermentation processes is needed
  • Process monitoring, which covers most industrial applications – monitoring emulsions and dispersions, and in the polymer and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Formulation monitoring, used for solid substances like topical cosmetics, flavour carriers, inks or pigments.

Find an imaging instrument

If you want to undertake particle imaging, the first step is to get the right instrument for the job. ATA Scientific carries a range of quality scientific instruments suited to your needs. Contact us to find out which instrument you need for particle imaging today.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation

Understanding and Choosing a Particle Size Analyser

Research today would not be so advanced and precise were it not for the existence of Particle Size Analysers. Without these pieces of equipment, much research would be incredibly different to carry out and benefits realised through science may not be known.

What are the Benefits of Particle Size Analysers?

There are a range of benefits from using a Particle Size Analyser, including:

  • Accurate and effective results are delivered in the form of readouts.
  • In a particular sample, particle size analysers identify the size and allocation of particles.
  • The size and shape of particles can be determined from various states of matter – this enables laboratories to examine and analyse many different types of samples and means that research is not limited or likely to omit important features.

Important things to know about Particle Size Analysers

There are a few key things to know about Particle Sizer Analysers that you may not already be aware of, including:

  • Not all Particle Size Analysers are the same. As different pieces of equipment are developed in different ways, some pieces will be better suited for particular purposes and use in different contexts. For example, particular models will be best suited to analysis of specific materials and samples.
  • Different models of Particle Size Analysers are likely to produce different results. This is influenced by whether the device being used is appropriate for analysis of the sample being studied. It is necessary to match devices with samples.
  • As a result of integrity within the industry, significantly flawed and problematic models are not generally available. Having said this, machinery is always subject to malfunction and occasionally devices may have defects. Sometimes, transportation of devices can cause some damage. To counter this, it is important and good practice to carefully inspect all models when they are delivered.

Deciding on a Particle Size Analyser

Because Particle Size Analysers are such a vital piece of equipment for any laboratory and necessary for determining the size and shape of particles, the decision of which one to choose to best meet needs should not be made lightly.

Modern and best quality Particle Size Analysers can today include features such as a short optical bench and intuitive software. Added to this, some devices are capable of analysing both wet and dry materials. An automated microscope and high resolution camera are also features of some state of the art devices. In best quality systems, these features are streamlined and integrated to form an imaging workstation.

Particle Size Analysers are highly specialised pieces of equipment that fulfil an important need; they are unique and so respected for their capacity to determine particle size and shape. Versatile and able to be used to enhance practice and processes in a variety of industries, Particle Size Analysers assist companies to avoid costly errors, damage to machinery and reduced productivity. When companies and industries have greater intelligence about the materials being used, the most effective methods of working can be applied.

Of course, companies should consider such an important investment carefully. Time and research should be prioritised to ensure that a Particle Size Analyser is chosen to best meet the needs of the business. Advances made in research today illuminate the benefits of these devices and the potential they have for enhancing processes and ultimately, the quality of final products.

Choose ATA Scientific

ATA Scientific is a trusted supplier of scientific instruments, offering a range of instruments suited to your needs. Browse our product range today to find the right Particle Size Analyser.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation

Laser Diffraction – Why is it Such an Important Particle Sizing Technique?

As a technique of particle size analysis, laser diffraction offers the ability to learn more about particle size and shape with a high level of accuracy. This information is incredibly useful to industries and for research and the information generated is influential in streamlining and enhancing processes used.

Particle sizing technologies are intended to provide a reliable measurement (that can be reproduced) for different sized particles. There are multiple technologies for particle size analysis and it is vital to appreciate that no one piece of technology is appropriate for every job. There are advantages and also drawbacks to each piece of measurement technology and different devices are best suited to particular industries or tasks.

Why is measuring particle size and shape important?

Today, many industries rely on the ability to use a particle size analyser to measure the size of particles of varying sizes, including those that are incredibly fine. We know that for all materials that are milled or ground, the resulting particle size is typically the factor that determines performance of the product and efficiency of the process.

As a result, analysis of particle size has become crucial to industries such as the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, building and chemical industries.

Why is laser diffraction one of the most important and used particle size analysis techniques?

As it can be used to determine particle size of liquid suspensions, dry substances and aerosols, laser diffraction is most popular for its dynamic nature and range.

However, different particle size analysis technologies can quite often produce different results for the same sample. There is a logical reason for this, being that each particle analysis measurement technique measures a different part of aspect of the same material. For this reason, all particle size analysis results must be considered as the best indications possible rather than definitive and exact measurements.

Why is ‘Equivalent Sphere’ Theory used?

Even the smallest particles are multi-dimensional and it is very hard, not to mention problematic, to describe a multi-dimensional particle using one dimension only.

As only one shape, a sphere, can be described by one dimension, all techniques that measure particle size relate this to an ‘equivalent sphere’.

What are the most common particle sizing techniques used?

  • Sedimentation techniques
  • Sieve technique
  • Aerodynamic sizing technique
  • Laser diffraction
  • Image analysis technique

With so many techniques for measurement available, which should be used?

Ultimately, there is no simple and definitive answer to this question. Because different products and processes can be measured, the most suitable measurement technology for the product and process needs to be chosen and applied. Having said this, of all of the technologies, the one that can be used most widely is laser diffraction.

The advantage of laser diffraction as a tool for determining particle size and shape is that it can be used to gain information about a wide range of particle sizes and sample types. This technique is suitable for materials such as sprays, powders, suspensions and emulsions and results are able to be delivered in the form of a ‘volume’ distribution, which is the most significant and logical description when bulk material properties are being analysed.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation

Seven Facts About Laser Diffraction

Laser diffraction is one type of particle size analysis and is a technique known and respected across many applications for its ability to provide fast and reliable particle size data. In this type of particle size analysis, a cloud (or ‘ensemble’) of particles that is representative of the greater collection, travels through a broadened beam of laser light which scatters the light on to a specialised lens. Information about particle size and shape can then be deduced from the scattered pattern of light.

The laser diffraction technique assumes that the particles that pass through a laser beam will scatter light at an angle that directly corresponds with their size. It then follows that as the size of particles decreases, the scattering angle that is observed will increase. Essentially, light scattered at narrow angles with high intensity indicates large particles and particles scattered at wider angles and with low intensity suggest smaller particles.

A laser diffraction system requires the following:

  • A laser – this is necessary as a source of intense and coherent light that is of a defined wavelength
  • A sample presentation system – this ensures that the material being tested successfully travels through the laser beam as a stream of particles that have a known state of dispersion that can be reproduced
  • Detectors – specialised detectors are applied to measure the light pattern produced across a range of angles.

Facts About Laser Diffraction:

  1. Over the last twenty years, laser diffraction has, to a large extent, replaced traditional methods of particle size analysis, such as sieving and sedimentation.
  2. Laser diffraction has replaced microscopy (including optical and electron) for particles that are larger than tens of nanometres.
  3. Laser diffraction offers many advantages, including: efficient and fast operation and ease of use; the capacity to reproduce results; a vast size range that spans up to five orders of magnitude.
  4. Laser diffraction analysers do not only measure simple diffraction effects. Light sources that do not make use of lasers are sometimes used to enhance the primary laser source to reveal extra information about particle size and shape.
  5. Particles that relate to or are measured for particular industries commonly resemble spheres and corners and edges of these particles are generally smoothed as a result of the rolling and turning motion originating from sample circulation as particle size and shape is measured.
  6. While modern equipment can give quite precise results, it can never be assumed that the size of particles (produced through laser diffraction or any other type of particle sizing measurement) will not differ from their true dimension.
  7. The spherical modelling theory remains the only accepted and logical choice used in a commercial device intended to analyse a wide range of samples, regardless of the real particle shape and size.

Laser diffraction is a particle size analysis technique that generates results that are incredibly useful for processes used for research and in various industries. Providing details about particle size and shape, this technology can be used to provide fast and accurate results.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation

Particle Size Analysis – What You Need to Know

Particle size analysis has many important uses for many industries. While many people may not immediately recognise or understand the benefits of determining particle size and shape, processes and systems in a variety of industries are enhanced and made more efficient when this intelligence is known. Specialised equipment has been developed to assist with such analysis and is vital in ensuring quality control and product standards.

What is Particle Size Analysis used for?

Particle size analysis is used to learn more about the size and shape of grains and particles within a particular sample. This analysis is so sophisticated and versatile that it is applicable to solid materials and also suspensions, emulsions and aerosols.

As some particle size analysis methods can only be used for particular materials, it is important that the most appropriate method of analysis be used. Varying and inconsistent results can occur if an inappropriate method for determining size is used.

What are Particle Size Analysis results used for?

Quality control and efficient functioning of processes is better assured for many industries if particle size analysis testing is done. For any industry where milling or grinding is undertaken, it is important to know particle size and shape in order to maximise the efficient functioning of processes and the ultimate quality of products.

While an array of industries and products benefit from particle size analysis, some of the industries in which analysis is commonly and widely used are:

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Building
  • Paints and coatings
  • Food and beverages
  • Aerosols

What are some of the difficulties with Particle Size Analysis?

Problems can arise when particle size analysis attempts to reduce the size of particles to only one number. A two dimensional graph is usually used to report particle size and quantity. However, only the shape of a sphere can truly be expressed as a single number, as it is the only shape that has the same measurement across every dimension. This does not apply to shapes of other types and sizes; they do not consistently measure the same across all of their dimensions.

In light of this, a one dimensional property of a particle is related to the size of an ‘equivalent sphere’ in all particle sizing techniques. Commonly, the volume of each particle in a sample is measured and equated to the size of a sphere with the same volume as the measured particles. This is referred to as an ‘equivalent sphere’ and is often applied in laser diffraction methods.

What is Laser Diffraction?

One of the most often used particle sizing methods, laser diffraction operates from the principle that when a laser (beam of light) is broken and scattered by particles, the smaller the particle size, the larger the angle of light scattering will be.

Laser diffraction is so popularly used because of its application to many different sample types. Further advantages of this particle size analysis technique are that it is fast, reliable and a technique that can be reproduced. It is also possible to use this measurement technique over a wide size range.

Particle size analysis is vital for enhancing the processes used in a variety of industries. Modern, sophisticated equipment is specifically designed to provide accurate and reliable results pertaining to a range of materials. It is little surprise that particle size analysis is so popularly used when the specific information that it provides are so significant and important to companies and industries.

Looking for the perfect analytics instrument for YOUR next big discovery?

Speak with the ATA Scientific team today to get expert advice on the right instruments for your research

Request free consultation