Particle Size Measurements:
Fundamentals, Practice, Quality

Henk G. Merkus
Springer Particle Technology Series, Volume 17 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4020-9015-8


Particulate products exist in a large variety, viz. abrasives, cement, sand, pharmaceutical powders and sprays, margarine, paint, toothpaste, sugar, pulverized coal, catalysts, etc., etc. They find application in both households and industries. Their behavior and performance is usually linked to characteristic parameters of the particle size distribution. Therefore, such parameters are often used in product specifications. This is the reason for frequent particle size determinations, for which a variety of techniques has been developed.

The contents of this book concentrate on the practical aspects of particle size measurement in its relationship with adequate characterization of product quality. This is a major difference with existing books, which have a more theoretical approach to particle sizing techniques. Of course, the emphasis in this text still lies with the measurement techniques. For optimum application, their theoretical background is accompanied by quantitative quality features, limitations and problem identification.

In the introductory chapter, the relevance of particle size for the performance of particulate products is illustrated, both during processing as well as in final application. Chapter 2 describes the concepts of equivalent sphere diameters for non-spherical particles and of characteristic parameters for particle size distributions and particle shape.

In Chapters 4 and 5, sampling and dispersion of powders are treated, since optimum choices are required to avoid significant contributions to the overall analysis error.

As indicated above, the book focuses on particle size measurement techniques. Chapter 6 gives an overview of all techniques. It is followed by elaborate chapters on microscopy and image analysis (Ch. 7), sieves and sieving (Ch. 8), electrical sensing zone (Ch. 9), laser diffraction (Ch. 10), ultrasound extinction (Ch. 11), dynamic light scattering (Ch. 12) and sedimentation techniques (Ch. 13). The stated quality aspects of the techniques enable a realistic estimation of the potential quality of the measurement results. Moreover, potential error sources are identified.

Furthermore, there are chapters dealing with the general aspects of quality for particle size analysis (Ch. 3), quality management (Ch. 17), reference materials (Ch. 16), written standards (Ch. 15), in- and on-line measurement (Ch. 14), definitions (Ch. 18) and multilingual terminology (Ch. 19).

Then, Chapter 20 is dedicated to the statistical background required for adequate interpretation of results.

Finally, names and (web site) addresses of relevant institutes and companies in this field are given in an annex.

In view of its structure, this book is well suited to stimulate good practice in particle size measurement for product characterization as well as to support courses on particle size measurement.


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