A new ASTM standard provides a quick and easy way to estimate the average size of powder particles used in a wide variety of industrial applications. The new standard - E2980, Test Methods for Estimating Average Particle Size of Powders Using Air Permeability - reflects advances in measurement technology that lead to better precision.
According to ASTM member Frank J. Venskytis, an independent standardization consultant, particle size is important to both powder producers and users because it affects processing and performance of the powders. Due to its ease of use, this new test method can help control production processes and quality, he says. Venskytis also notes that the obsolescence of instrumentation used for a similar technique to estimate particle size led to the need for the new standard. The new method uses the same physical principles as the old, but with much better precision.
Many industrial materials are at one time or another in powder form. Examples include metals, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, and paint pigments, among others. These materials are eventually used in myriad applications, including structural materials, electronics and drug formulation.
“The new standard will be useful for processing and quality control by powder suppliers and producers of solid materials manufactured from those powders,” says Venskytis. “In the pharmaceutical and other industries, the standard can be used for controlling drug efficacy and conformance to regulatory requirements.”
In downstream processing (for example, consolidation, compaction, flow characteristics, sintering, etc.) particle size is of paramount importance. Particle size also greatly affects performance, strength, and efficacy of processed powder materials.
Users of the standard are encouraged to contact Committee E29 (Particle and Spray Characterization) to participate in an interlaboratory study to develop a precision and bias statement for the new standard.
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