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By far the most important physical property of particulate samples is particle size. Particle size measurement is routinely carried out across a wide range of industries and is often a critical parameter in the manufacture of many products. Particle size has a direct influence on material properties such as:

  • reactivity or dissolution rate, e.g. catalysts, tablets
  • stability in suspension, e.g. sediments, paints
  • efficacy of delivery, e.g. asthma inhalers
  • texture and feel, e.g. food ingredients
  • appearance, e.g. powder coatings and inks
  • flowability and handling e.g. granules
  • viscosity, e.g. nasal sprays
  • packing density and porosity, e.g. ceramics

Measuring particle size and understanding how it affects your products and processes can be critical to the success of many manufacturing businesses.


How do we define particle size?

Particles are 3-dimensional objects, and unless they are perfect spheres (e.g. emulsions or bubbles), they cannot be fully described by a single dimension such as a radius or diameter.

In order to simplify the measurement process, it is often convenient to define the particle size using the concept of equivalent spheres. In this case the particle size is defined by the diameter of an equivalent sphere having the same property (such as volume or mass) as the actual particle. It is important to realize that different measurement techniques use different equivalent sphere models and therefore will not necessarily each give exactly the same result for the particle diameter.


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