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Malvern Analyzer Used to Better Understand Powder Handling Mechanics

July 27, 2007

A research team led by Professor John Dodds at the RAPSODEE research centre, Ecole des Mines in Albi, France, is using a Malvern Spraytec particle size analyzer as part of a project to better understand the mechanics of powder handling. The system will be used to examine dust emissions from powder streams in order to assess the risk of dust exposure.

This project, which is part of a research program managed by the French National Institute of Research and Security (INRS), seeks to quantify potentially hazardous dust emissions. A key task is to investigate the effect on dust formation of powder properties and powder geometry. Using the Spraytec, mean concentration, and particle size distribution data, critical elements in the work can be generated without disturbing the powder flow.

The team at the Ecoles des Mines was one of the first to use the new generation Spraytec system. This laser diffraction-based analyzer is designed for the measurement of particle size in aerosols and sprays. Two features make it especially suited for this application. The first is its ability to measure aerosol distributions over a wide range of particle sizes, ensuring that all particle information is captured. Secondly, the Spraytec’s large working range allows measurement of particles even if they are at a distance from the detector, so the powder plume can be analyzed easily without risk of contaminating the optics. This, coupled with a versatile bench design, is allowing real time measurement of dust production during powder flow from silos.

In the EU, approximately 60% of industrial products or intermediates involve particulate solids in one form or another. The risk to workers of dust exposure is therefore significant. By better understanding how dust generation relates to powder properties, the team at RAPSODEE hope to be able to inform the design of new processing, conveyance, and storage systems in order to reduce or eliminate the risks involved.