Everything we see with our eyes is made up of particles. Some such gases are made from very tiny ones that we cannot see with the naked eye.
In solids, the particles are well attracted to each other and vibrate in position without moving past each other. The attraction in liquids is the same but is in a flowing motion.
Generally, everything is particles and determining the size helps you know what you are dealing with. Read on to know more about particle size analysis.
What is a Particle Size Analysis?
Particle size analysis refers to the measurement of particle sizes as well as their distribution in a material. For this process, you need a particle size analyzer.
While the most common application is in the medical field, the analyzers are used in other fields, including research and development, manufacturing, and even product testing.
While shopping on our website, clients can get a particle size analyzer that uses AI and machine learning for quicker understanding of the properties. We know how crucial speed is when patients want their test results back.
4 Types of Particle Size Analyzers
Particle size analyzers come in different types and use diverse technologies to determine the precise size and distribution of particles.
This makes it easier for you to choose the one that suits your application more. In this section, we will discuss the four types available and how you can use them.
1. Sieve Analysis
As the name suggests, this method uses a sieve to determine the size distribution of the material in question. The process will help to separate the fine particles from more particles by passing them through different sieves with varying mesh sizes.
The process is very simple and only requires the sieves in different sizes. It also doesn’t require a lot of expertise; your eyes and hands are enough.
However, since the principle focuses on the shape, it may be hard for elongated and flat particles to pass. This renders it unreliable in some situations as it does not account for the particle shapes.
Additionally, it is purely an offline method and lacks real-time ability for monitoring. This becomes an issue when you need to transmit the results to the next assessment stage.
2. Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS)
Also known as Quasi-Elastic Light Scattering (QELS) and Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS), DLS is a highly optical method. It uses optics to help you determine the size properties of particles in a sample using scattered light intensity.
Usually, the random motion of colloidal particles due to collisions results in a constant change in the particle’s position. Following this, you get a shifting scattered light intensity for a stationary sample.
This change provides adequate information regarding the diffusion conditions for the sample. As you can see, DLS heavily relies on interference.
3. Direct Imaging
A direct imaging particle size analyzer measures the shape and size of particles between 50um and 5500um. It is the most common type as it is non-destructive and requires no contact with the product.
Depending on the precise application, you can use it as a bench-top instrumental or in-process analytical technology.
The machine works by capturing sample images that showcase the surface morphology and report the shape’s information. The best thing about it is that it can measure wet powders, dry powders, and heavy solids.
With the continuous capturing of sample images, it processes data in real-time, thus allowing easy tracking of the particle size growth and reduction.
4. Laser Diffraction
Laser diffraction works by determining the size distribution under a pattern of light. When the light comes into contact with light, it creates a scatter pattern. The method employs different sensors to detect and measure the sizes and distribution.
The biggest advantage of this method is that the angle and intensity of the scatter pattern are proportional to the size of the particles.
For this reason, it becomes easy to get precise particle size information from the scattered light. You will not be observing the sample mathematically and presenting the particle size information as a volume fraction.
As you can see, there are different techniques to measure particle sizes. The analysis is instrumental in a wide range of applications and industries.
While the sieve analysis works for small solid samples, it may not offer real-time data. The direct imaging particle size analyzer stands out as a great option for tracking data, especially for sensitive samples and products.