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In addition to particle size, particle shape can also have a significant impact upon the performance and process handling of many particulate materials.

Morphological imaging applies the technique of automated static image analysis to provide a complete, detailed description of the morphological properties of particulate materials. By combining particle size measurements, such as length and width, with particle shape assessments, such as circularity and convexity, morphological imaging fully characterizes both spherical and irregularly-shaped particles. This enables deeper understanding of a sample’s characteristics through precise detection of agglomerates, foreign particles and other anomalous materials. It also delivers the data required to cross-validate other particle sizing methods which apply an equivalent-sphere approach to reporting particle size distributions. 

Combining static imaging with Raman spectroscopy further allows the chemical identity of the particles to be determined, delivering component-specific microstructural insight. Raman spectroscopy is well-recognised across industry and academia as providing the high level of chemical specificity required to identify components in a mixture, even to the degree of differentiating alternative forms of the same compound. 

Typical Application Areas

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) and excipient particle size and shape are critical material attributes which must be understood and controlled during formulation development and process scale-up for both innovator and generic products. Malvern Panalytical Morphologi systems deliver the data required to achieve this and can also determine the component-specific API particle size required to establish in vitro bioequivalence for generics, minimizing associated clinical study costs. 

Morphological descriptions can be used to correlate electrode powder attributes with battery performance, to support product development and ensure final product quality. It also provides information on the chemical composition and structure of electrode material properties which are fundamental to battery performance. 

Metal powder properties such as particle size and shape are critical for powder metallurgy processes as they impact final component quality and performance. It is used by metal powder producers and component manufacturers to ensure an optimum, consistent and traceable powder supply, mitigating the risk of costly part failure. 

Forensic analysis requires physical and chemical information to interpret evidence. The particle size, shape and chemical information. Morphologi systems enables contaminant identification, detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals or illicit drugs, and examination of soils and other residues from crime scenes, to support the investigative process. 

Cement is a complex mixture of minerals and additives, the component-specific particle properties of which affect final product performance. Morphologi systems allow the particle size and shape of individual components in a cement blend to be fully characterized and compared between batches or products, to aid product development and solve production problems. 

The morphology of geological deposits helps trace the extent of natural disasters and predict the impact of future environmental events. Particle properties also determine the effectiveness of abrasive minerals for use in cutting and polishing tools. Morphologi systems automatically generate the statistically relevant, component-specific particle data required to meet these challenges. 

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