Thursday 19 May 2016
Powders are widely used in a range of applications within the pharmaceutical, chemical, metallurgical and food industries. They are three-phase systems containing complex and variable solid particles, as well as an unquantified amount of air and a degree of moisture. As a result, powder behaviour is an intricate interaction of all three phases and is influenced by a vast array of parameters. This makes both measurement and processing demanding.
In the latest issue of Kjemi, Freeman Technology explores why the way in which a powder flows is one of the most important aspects of its behaviour. Ensuring that powders flow through a plant in a reliable, controlled way is a significant challenge. However, the properties that dictate flow also influence many other unit operations, such as blending and die filling. When a powder moves, the particles within it need to move with respect to each other. The ease with which this occurs determines how readily the powder will flow. This simple statement immediately helps identify factors that influence powder flow.
Although there are many powder testing techniques available, the article suggests that in order to deliver true value, methods must be reliable, reproducible and relevant. Techniques that meet these essential criteria can guide formulation specialists and process engineers through the challenges of working with powders. In order to obtain an in-depth understanding of how a powder will behave in different situations a multivariate approach is in most cases a necessity.