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Particle Analysis: Size & Shape Assessments of Powders

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of individual particle analysis techniques is a critical element in analyzing particular powders’ particle sizes. It is essential to understand the advantages and disadvantages when choosing between instruments and purchasing the most appropriate tool for the goal.

In this article, we will outline some particle analysis methods and present the benefits and drawbacks of each technique.

Laser Diffraction

The laser diffraction particle analysis method measures the particle size distribution by quantifying the angular variation in the intensity of light scattered. In contrast, a laser beam passes through a particulate sample that has been dispersed.

Laser diffraction is advantageous as a particle analysis method as it is easy to operate as a broad test range and has a high level of precision and repeatability. However, the laser diffraction particle analysis instrument is extremely expensive, and the method’s results depend on the distribution pattern.

Sieve Analysis

Sieve analysis is a particle analysis method in which particles pass through sieves with a progressively smaller mesh size and weigh the material stopped by each sieve. This method is quick and easy with low instrument costs while also being reproducible and accurate. This method of particle analysis also results in a shortened analysis time.

Microscope Imaging

Microscopic imaging is a simple particle analysis method, a direct test procedure allowing for shape analysis. However, the test cycle is long, and it cannot test ultra-fine particles. Electron microscope particle analysis can measure particles at nanometer size; however, it comes at a higher cost.

Air Permeability Fisher Method

The air permeability method is a particle analysis method that is non-destructive. A steady pressure pump is employed to pump out regular air, which is then dried with a drying tube. The dry gas moves through the compacted sample area, and then a pressure drop is created. The pressure drop is negligible if the powder has a large gap and large if the powder has a small gap.

Compared to other particle analysis methods, the air permeability fisher method is low in cost, can test magnetic powders or hard alloys, and has a simplified sample dispersion. The main disadvantage with this method is that it only quantifies the average particle size and not the distribution.

Particle Analysis Automation from MIPAR

At MIPAR, our image analysis software provides fully automated particle size analysis for a single scan or a batch sample set. Typically, separate analytical software or manual methods are used to quantify particle analysis data which can be an inefficient process.

MIPAR’s automated image analysis software development has led to particle analysis becoming more streamlined as it is quicker and easier to manage. If you would like to find out more about our particle analysis solutions, contact us today.


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